Walters to show 22 Monet works Art: Fans of the Impressionist master will have nine weeks to view these ZTC paintings of Giverny from a French museum. They'll just have to wait until 1998.

September 10, 1996|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN STAFF

An article in Tuesday's Sun about a 1998 Monet exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery misspelled the name of the curator overseeing the show. He is William R. Johnston.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The Walters Art Gallery will bring 22 rarely seen paintings of French Impressionist master Claude Monet to Baltimore in 1998, its director Gary Vikan announced yesterday at a ceremonial contract signing with the Musee Marmottan of Paris, which owns the world's largest collection of Monet's works.

The exhibition, titled "Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny from the Musee Marmottan," is expected to draw as many as 200,000 visitors to the Walters during its nine-week stay, March 29 to May 31, 1998.


Most of the works date from the last decades of Monet's life (1840-1926) and depict the magnificent flower gardens and water-lily pond on the artist's estate in Giverny, a rural village 38 miles northwest of Paris.

Arnaud d'Haute-rive, director of the Musee Marmottan, was present for the signing ceremony and spoke briefly in French about the significance of Monet's last works. Vikan summarized d'Haute-rive's remarks, in which he compared Monet's innovative use of color with Cezanne's experiments with form, by saying that the paintings document Monet's crucial role as a link between 19th-century Impressionism and 20th-century abstraction.

"This is a spectacular exhibition and a great opportunity to introduce the late works of Monet to our regional audience," Vikan said.

The Monet show is expected to rival in popularity the Walter's "Gauguin and the School of Pont-Aven," a blockbuster exhibition that attracted huge crowds and became the second-biggest show in the museum's history during its eight-week run in 1994-1995.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke attended yesterday's ceremony and praised the Monet show as an important stimulus to the local and regional economy.

"We anticipate tremendous attendance and we know it will have a tremendous economic impact," Schmoke said.

"One study showed that the Gauguin exhibition had a $10 million overall economic impact on the local economy. This show, in all likelihood, will exceed that."

Two years ago, the Musee Marmottan lent the 22 paintings in the planned show to museums in New Orleans and San Francisco. Those museums experienced record increases in attendance as a result, Vikan said.

"The New Orleans show drew 235,000 visitors and the San Francisco show drew 300,000," he noted. "So we are setting our sights high here."

The largest show in the Walters' history was the retrospective of Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, which opened in June 1993. It attracted 140,000 visitors during its 14-week run.

Also present at yesterday's ceremony were the directors of museums in San Diego and Portland, Ore., where the Monet show will travel after it leaves Baltimore.

Steven L. Brezzo, director of the San Diego Museum of Art, called Monet's late works "startling in technique and scintillating in the application of color. This is an exhibition sure to delight those familiar with the artist's work and to introduce the joys of his oeuvre to a whole new generation."

Portland Art Museum director John E. Buchanan said "the intense color and abstract quality of the late paintings of Giverny allow us to experience both Monet's cherished surroundings and his continuous evolution as an artist."

The Walters and the San Diego and Portland museums spent more than a year negotiating with the Musee Marmottan to bring the exhibition back after its successful runs in New Orleans and San Francisco, Vikan said.

This is the second time in recent years the Walters has joined with these two museums to bring an important exhibition to the United States. The Gauguin show was also a collaborative effort.

Planning for the show will be overseen by William R. Johnson, the Walters' curator of 19th-century art. Johnson called Monet's late paintings the artist's "crucial achievement.

"He was embarking on a new direction, trying to establish what he called an 'envelope of light' that would use color to deal with space," Johnson said. "And this is where he bypassed the post-Impressionists and linked directly with modern abstract painting."

Pub Date: 9/10/96

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