In Pictures: A New Blockbuster Show in Paris Reveals the Surprising—and Utterly Convincing—Connections Between Claude Monet and Joan Mitchell

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We often hear about how the Impressionists’ break with tradition paved the way for Modern art. But since the works of each movement tend to be siphoned off into separate galleries, we rarely get a chance to connect the dots ourselves.

This fall, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is presenting a unique dialogue between the works of Monet, one of the best known Impressionists from Paris, and Joan Mitchell, a leading light of Abstract Expressionism working many decades later in the U.S. The melting away of chronological distinctions has been heightened by taking the works by Monet out of their ormolu frames, creating a timeless effect and bringing attention to the works’ formal characteristics.

The famous “Water Lilies” by Monet, who died just one year after Mitchell’s birth, in 1925, became widely known in America during the 1950s. They were clearly of interest to Mitchell, who took part in two exhibitions of so-called “abstract impressionist” work in 1957 and 1958.

The connection between the two artists became particularly strong after 1968, when Mitchell moved to Vétheuil, the commune on the banks of the Seine where Monet lived and worked between 1878 and 1881. The region’s natural surroundings became a crucial source of inspiration for both artists, though each used real life only as a starting point to create highly moving and evocative studies reflective of their unique eye and experiences.

The show presents 36 works by Monet side by side with 24 works by Mitchell. Those hoping to learn more about the latter’s life and work can also visit a special retrospective running simultaneously in the lower floor of the building.

“Monet-Mitchell” is on display at Fondation Louis Vuitton until February 27, 2023. See some of the paintings included in the show below.

Installation view of “Monet-Mitchell” at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Photo courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Claude Monet, The Garden at Giverny (1922-26). Photo courtesy of Musee Marmottan, Paris.

Joan Mitchell La Grande Vallee (1983). Photo by © Primae / Louis Bourjac, courtesy of © The Estate of Joan Mitchell.

Installation view of “Monet-Mitchell” at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Photo courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Claude Monet, Nymphéas (1916-1919). Photo courtesy of Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.

Joan Mitchell, Quatuor II for Betsy Jolas (1976). Photo courtesy of Joan Mitchell Foundation © The Estate of Joan Mitchell.

Installation view of “Monet-Mitchell” at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Photo courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Claude Monet, Agapanthus (1916-1919). Photo courtesy of Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.

Joan Mitchell, La Grande Vallée XIV (For a Little While) (1983). Photo courtesy of Joan Mitchell, La Grande Vallée XIV (For a Little While) (1983). Photo: Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris © The Estate of Joan Mitchell.

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