For three months only, Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum has been transformed into a Claude Monet wonderland, with pieces painted by the Master of Impressionism that have rarely been seen in public before and others that are renowned the world over.
There’s a good reason why the Grimaldi Forum’s summer exhibitions are among the most highly regarded in the world. The giant exhibition space of 2,500sqm is given over to the work of a different artist each year, taking visitors on a unique journey into their creative universe.
This year, it is French painter Claude Monet who takes the spotlight, and through this exhibition, visitors will be able to delve deeper into the mind of the man who invented impressionist painting.
Claude Monet was a visionary for his time. He founded and led impressionist painting and, throughout his long career, was a prolific practitioner of impressionism’s philosophy of painting nature as one perceived it, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting.
This exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco is being held with the support of the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, and has been curated by Monet-specialist Marianne Mathieu. Over the space of 2,500m2, Marianne Mathieu guides visitors through the mind of Monet, so they can better understand the painter’s quest to capture light.
The exhibition has been made for Monaco and the French Riviera specifically, so it retraces the work of Monet and explores the artist’s stays on the Riviera at a pivotal moment in his life. The route, featuring nearly 100 paintings from all over the world, including many masterpieces rarely presented together – and one unpublished – it offers a new look at the work of the master of impressionism.
Through the spectrum of light
In 1883, halfway through his long life yet still in search of inspiration, Claude Monet made his first trip to Monaco and the Riviera, where he met his friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
He returned in 1884 and again in 1888, staying in Monaco, Roquebrune, Bordighera and Antibes, where he would feed his quest, his obsession, to capture light. The painter discovered a new palette of colours, and had difficulty painting them. It was during his last stay in Antibes in 1888 that he conceived his famous series of paintings from the Plage de la Salis – the fort of Antibes in all weathers.
“Monet’s work was very coherent, from his youth in Le Havre to the last paintings at Giverny, the painter did not seek to paint a concept but rather a moment,” explained curator Marianne Mathieu during a private press tour ahead of the official opening on 8th July. “Monet did not paint a landscape but an atmosphere. On the Riviera, between 1883 and 1888, there was a maturity, Monet found himself painting series. In Giverny, which he hardly left at the turn of the century, the painter evolved again, changed his point of view, and only painted the mirror of water. Monet abandoned panoramic views in favour of a tight frame, offering an almost abstract vision of water and its reflections. He no longer painted his garden but only the elements of water and light. He painted the picture of a floating world.”
In this exhibition, the curator invites visitors to approach Claude Monet’s work through the spectrum of light: “Let’s not ask ourselves what Monet painted but rather when he painted it.”
Works rarely exhibited together
In the section dedicated to Claude Monet’s paintings that he made during his stays on the Riviera, more than 20 exceptional works are being exhibited for the first time.
This exhibition is therefore one of the largest monographs devoted to Claude Monet seen in the past decade, and undoubtedly also the most daring, with paintings rarely shown together.
The exhibition ‘Monet: en pleine lumière’ runs from 8th July to 3rd September 2023. It is open every day from 10am to 8pm, with evening visits possible on Thursdays until 10pm.
Admission price is €14, entry is free for those under 18 years.
A reduced price of €11 is available for groups of 10 people or less, students and seniors.
TER customers can present their train ticket for that day and receive a reduced rate of €11.
Public guided tours are available for an additional €10 per person, Thursdays and Sundays at 10.30am, 2.30pm and 5pm, subject to availability.
Private guided tours in English or French are possible for a single price of €370 for a group of up to 25 people, in addition to the entrance price per person.
Audioguides in English or French are also available for an additional €6 and features a 45-minute narration by the curator.
For an extra-special treat, guided tours can be taken before the exhibition opens to the general public. The package includes breakfast and a guided tour. It is available from 8.45am to 10.45am for €180 per person on 14th July, 28th July and 11th August, subject to availability.
Bookings can be made at: www.montecarloticket.com / email@example.com / +377 99 99 3000
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Main photo by Monaco Life