Fighting with cataracts Claude Monet became a master of impressionism and a forebear of modernism. With a muted color pallet he fought through a disease that could have broken a lesser man. I feel privileged to have seen and visited Giverny and so many of Monet’s works in person both in Paris at Marmotton and Orangerie, at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and now at the De Young in San Francisco.
I posted last week lighter and brighter early works seen at Orangerie, those which are the most famous and known worldwide. But this “Later Works” exhibit at the De Young was amazing. It was fantastic to see how he adapted both with color and impressionism. Giverny, his muse, is identifiable in mind bending ways. His pink house, his roses, water lilies, the Japanese bridge all recognizable if you know what you are looking at. All of which are blurry and likely painted at least partially from the memory of a man who loved this land as much as he could any single person.
I stood before them humbled if not for the masses of people stepping on my feet and elbowing my sides. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things and places in my life but these “things”, these paintings, are something meaningful and hard to explain for me. I am grateful for them, the man who created them, and grateful for the opportunity to have seen them in person.