One of the disappointments in visiting Claude Monet’s last home and gardens in Giverny, is the realization that none of his works can be found there. However, until the 31st of October, 2011, there is a near-by remedy.

Visitors in Giverny should not miss the exceptional exposition of a selection of paintings from the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is currently showing at the Giverny Museum of Impressionism, and runs there until October 31st, when it will migrate to Barcelona, the next stop in a world tour.

This impressive exhibition consists of 73 paintings, mostly from the inner core of Impressionist painters (Renoir, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, Morisot, Caillebotte and Degas). It also includes exceptional works of precursors (Corot, Millet, and Manet), as well as of post-Impressionists (including Gauguin, Bonnard and Toulouse-Lautrec).

Stellar may be too weak a term to describe its breath-taking array of first class Renoirs, and some of the best works of Monet, Sisley and Pissarro. Its presentation of 20 Renoirs of such outstanding quality sends one searching for Rubens or Titian to find an oeuvre of comparable value. Viewing Monet’s The Cliffs at Etretat demonstrates how perfectly inadequate reproductions can be in conveying the work of an artist. The light from this painting leaps at one’s eye directly from the canvas.

Interspersed with the exceptional are less exalted works, underlining the sublime quality of the whole. Those of Boldoni and Stevens are especially appealing for their glimpses of ordinary life and attractive rendering of fabrics.