Friday, June 11, 2010

the later years of Claude Monet

I went down to the Gagosian Gallery in New York City which is exhibiting a rare and stunning collection of late Monet paintings through June 26th. If you are in the area, please go down and see it. I went with a few friends, one who is a painter, and we spent at least an hour in the several rooms. The painting I show here from 1906 is bucolic but most of the paintings around 1914-1919 are not. How could they be? The artist's eyesight was failing him; he had lived through the ravages of World War I in which his sons and the sons of his good friend Renoir had fought. Death had taken his beloved second wife Alice and his older son Jean as well as his beautiful stepdaughter Susanne whose portrait on a hill is the cover for my novel CLAUDE & CAMILLE. The old friends he had loved had died or were far from him and his work, which has seemed so radical in 1865, was now old style. More and more he stayed within his house and gardens, finding contentment there. And still he did not "cease from exploration" as T.S. Eliot writes.

Do go if you are in the New York City area. Several pictures are from private collections and may not be easily seen again. I hope to go again myself before it closes.