For me, art gives a person the chance to look into the window of somebody’s soul and view their creativity. When I heard the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth was showing a selection of Claude Monet’s work, I knew that it was something I wanted to see firsthand.
The exhibit showcases 52 paintings from the final years of Monet’s life, 1913-1926. Monet was the founder of the French Impressionist style of painting. The work on display reflects nature’s beauty and Monet’s connection to it. It was neat to see how Monet’s mind worked by seeing each brush stroke in detail and up close. Some were very crisp and sharp while others were thick with paint.
The exhibit begins with paintings Monet did in his outdoor studio at Giverny from the late 1890s to the early 1900s so as to give visitors an understanding of his work before his eyes started to fail him. These paintings are of a Japanese footbridge, lily pond and Monet’s house.
The second part of the exhibit includes Monet’s work from 1914-1919, when he returned to painting after the deaths of his second wife Alice and his son Jean.
Looking at these works, it made me wonder if turning back to his art was a form of therapy for him. I know many people, including myself, in moments of grief have turned to art as an outlet for the feelings and emotions that need to be let out.
To me, one painting that showed this was his work entitled “Water Lilies,” which was done from 1914-1917. Through his canvases of bright colors, I feel he wanted to focus his attention on the beauty of the world around him rather than on death.
The final portion of the exhibit, which was really fascinating to me, showcased some of the paintings he did as he was losing his sight. The Kimbell’s website notes that Monet’s cataracts affected the tonal balance of his perception. Some of the paintings in this area show included “Path Under the Rose Arches” and “The Artist’s House Seen from the Rose Garden.”
One set of paintings that showed this – and spoke to me – were those of the Japanese bridge that was over the lily pond in his garden. As time went on, each depiction of the bridge became a little bit more abstract, blurred and out of focus although the bridge could still itself be faintly seen.
It reminded me of how my grandmother described having cataracts. She told me how images became cloudy over time and how it’s almost like looking through a frost-covered window.
The exhibit also includes movie camera footage taken of Monet in his garden that visitors can view. I highly recommend seeing Monet’s work before it leaves the area.
The exhibit, “Monet: The Later Years,” is on display at the Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion until Sept. 15. The Piano Pavilion is located at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth.
Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students, $14 for ages 6 to 11 years old and free for children younger than age 6. The exhibit is free to all Kimbell members. Reduced admission is available for $16 for K-12 teachers and active-duty military members. There are $3 tickets available to SNAP recipients. Reduced tickets can only be purchased at the museum.
For more information about the exhibit, visit www.kimbellart.org/exhibition/monet.