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Monet’s French Riviera Odyssey Illuminated: “Monet in Full Light” Exhibition

Exploring the Riviera with Renoir: Genesis of Monet’s Journey

In 1883, Claude Monet’s artistic trajectory took a captivating turn as he embarked on a journey to the French Riviera alongside his fellow artist and friend, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This pivotal trip marked the beginning of a series of voyages that would profoundly influence Monet’s work.

Grimaldi Forum Monaco: The Staging Ground for Monet’s Masterpieces

Nestled within the sovereign city-state, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco now hosts the exhibition “Monet in Full Light.” Curated by Marianne Mathieu, this remarkable showcase, three years in the making, brings together nearly 100 paintings that chronicle Monet’s transformative visits to the French Riviera.

Installation view of “Monet in Full Light.” Photo courtesy of Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

140th Anniversary Celebration: Honoring Monet’s Inaugural Riviera Sojourn

Coinciding with the 140th anniversary of Claude Monet’s maiden visit to Monte Carlo and the Riviera, the “Monet in Full Light” exhibition offers an immersive experience into the artist’s creative exploration of this picturesque region.

From Grief to Inspiration: Monet’s Post-Tragedy Travels

Following the passing of his first wife, Camille, in 1879, Monet’s artistic pursuits were redefined. Grief turned into inspiration as he began a period of extensive travel, seeking solace and new avenues of expression.

Installation view. Claude Monet, Villas at Bordighera (1884). Photo courtesy of Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Patrice Schmidt

Riviera’s Allure: The Painter’s Reverie and Reality

Monaco, a place Monet affectionately referred to as “the most beautiful spot on the entire Riviera,” became a pivotal destination during his initial journey. The Impressionist luminary’s two works from this visit, hidden from Parisian eyes due to his then-limited renown, form the foundation of the exhibition’s narrative.

Artistic Evolution: Monet’s Solo Returns to the Riviera

Monet’s subsequent solo expeditions in 1884 and 1888 saw him delve deeper into the Riviera’s allure. Monte-Carlo, Roquebrune, Bordighera, and Antibes became the backdrop for his explorations, laying the groundwork for his iconic depictions of the Antibes fort across varying seasons.

Reviving Forgotten Treasures: Unveiling 23 First-Time Exhibits

The “Monet in Full Light” exhibition transcends conventional displays by showcasing 23 artworks that have never before been exhibited. This unprecedented collection serves as a testament to the exhibition’s commitment to resurrecting forgotten treasures from Monet’s Riviera odyssey.

Claude Monet, Agapanthes (1914-1917). Photo courtesy of Grimaldi Forum Monaco/Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

Capturing Atmosphere, Not Just Landscape: Monet’s Unique Vision

Marianne Mathieu, curator of the exhibition, underscores Monet’s unique artistic perspective. From his early days in Le Havre to his final masterpieces in Giverny, Monet aimed to capture not just landscapes but the very essence of fleeting moments and atmospheres.

Revealing Insights: Monet’s Riviera Chronicles

Beyond the brushstrokes, the exhibition also unveils newfound understandings about Monet’s artistic process during his Riviera era. It offers a glimpse into the precise locations where he set up his easels and the specific visits that served as the genesis for his timeless paintings.

Maturity in Canvas: Monet’s Riviera Series of 1883-1888

As the exhibition curator, Mathieu highlights the maturity apparent in Monet’s Riviera series, spanning the period between 1883 and 1888. Through these works, Monet embarked on a transformative journey, not just as a painter of subjects, but as a chronicler of moments in time.

Beyond Subjects: Embracing Moments in “Monet in Full Light”

The heart of “Monet in Full Light” lies in its invitation to viewers to shift their gaze from mere subjects to the essence of moments captured by Monet’s skillful strokes. The exhibition encourages contemplation not only of what Monet painted, but more significantly, when he chose to immortalize these fleeting instances.

Feature Image: Installation view of “Monet in Full Light.” Courtesy of Grimaldi Forum Monaco


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