If your love of Claude Monet’s art is sufficiently intense, you might wonder what sort of art the master collected for himself. Answers are available in an unusual exposition at the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris, until January 14: “Monet Collectionneur.”
Comprised of over 100 paintings, several sculptures, drawings and prints (including an assortment of Japanese prints), it presents work of an impressive array of mostly 19th century French artists: Delacroix, Corot, Boudin, Jongkind, Manet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Morisot, Pissarro, Rodin and Signac, to name some.
That many are masterpieces is not surprising. Monet, as Cezanne astutely observed, had a most remarkable eye. As his success soared, he also acquired the financial means to purchase master works. When Monet was in a position to lend 15,000 francs to Camille Pissarro, which the latter used to purchase his property in Eragny, he finessed one of Pissarro’s finest works, “Peasant Women Planting the Oars,” as part of the repayment.
The Pissarro finessed by Monet
This exhibition provides ample commentary on how and when Monet acquired the works on display, and is a gold mine of interesting biographic Monet information. It also mirrors Monet`s career: aspiring and modest in the beginning, when many of his acquisitions were gifts from his artist friends and relatives, more serious in his middle years, when he bartered one of his paintings against one of Rodin’s sculptures, and expanding to outright purchase of master works when he had the means.
This also is a bite-sized exhibition, which can be absorbed within an hour or so. At the end, you exit through the basement gallery, where most of the museum’s permanent Monet collection resides, including the iconic “Impression, Sunrise,” the painting that gave birth to the term Impressionism.
Marmottan Monet Museum, 2 rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm, until 9 pm on Thursday, closed Monday