Claude Monet and the Impressionists in Sydney

On Sunday I spent the day in Sydney and visited the Claude Monet and the Impressionists exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. Impressionism was never my favorite art movement, but when a whale of an artist like Claude Monet comes to town it’s hard to find an excuse to not see it. Australian museums aren’t exactly overflowing with masterpieces from around the world, so any decent traveling exhibition is a must see.

“Paint what you really see, not what you think you ought to see; not the object isolated as in a test tube, but the object enveloped in sunlight and atmosphere, with the blue dome of Heaven reflected in the shadows” Claude Monet Quote

Claude Monet Waterlilies Painting
Claude Monet
Water Lilies 1905
oil on canvas, 89.5 x 100.3 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Claude Monet Painting
Claude Monet
Charing Cross Bridge (overcast day) 1900
oil on canvas, 60.6 x 91.5 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Here’s a slideshow and talk about Monet and the exhibition on the SMH website.

Monet & the Impressionists is on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney until the 26th of January 2009.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Donald Frazell says:

    Did you enjoy it? I love Monets work, especially the water lillies adn Rouen cathedral. Trees too. I dont like many impressionists, he was the exception to the rule and carried the rest, except for early Renoir. Like Berthe Mopristo too, much better than Casatt. A true artissts, while most others like Sisley are dull.

    It was the ppost impressionists, who went outside also, and tasted reality, then dreamt back in the studios who were great. Not teh rather “low ceilinged edifice” of Impressionism. Old ladies like it though. Artists do need to get bakc outside and mingle in life. When that is felt adn conveyed, then they can get back into the quitness of the studio. Just self absorbed now, need the feel of oneness of nature, before one can dream.

    And Monet was Monet, a great unique artist, love his color, only a few like Bonnard could carry it on.

  2. I did enjoy it Donald. Monet is a great painter, just not my favorite painter.

    I like his foggy works, including the rouen cathedral works, where things are suggested and unclear. I like his very late stuff too where he looked to be losing vision.

    You must like the new street art movement Donald.. they not only paint en plein air, but they often leave their work outside! ;-)

    Theyre doing the same thing that the impressionists did.. absorbing nature and expressing what they see/feel.

  3. Donald Frazell says:

    But most Impressionists sucked, monet really went beyond Impresionism, adn created light itself. These later California “light” artists of teh 70s adn 80s wre a bad joke, Disney versions with neon lights softening rooms in a glow. Feel like I am on the old Monsanto ride at Disneyland, silly.

    Self expression si NOt art. Moent actualy poroved taht, he wanted to be cmpletley objective, but like another faovirte, who invented perspective, but ended up completley designed with his horses lookng like Japanese art adn Chinese scultoures, he went far beyond.

    These kids are jsut kids, doing kid stuff. Adn not very well I msut add. I KNOW I could do a much better job artisticaly, wouldnt be ahrd, but why waste time on childish things? I put them aside decades ago, I grew up.


  4. Donald Frazell says:

    What I miss today in painting, well, one of many things, is the ability and intent of the artist to have the work itself create light, not by trompe l’oeil, chirascuro, or painting fire or the sun. but the work itself creating energy, eminating from the forms, colors, interaction, glow. Degas did this also, partially you are right from fading eyesight, but all modern artists do this. The energy eminates from within, thats part of life, and the artists intent to create. We create heat, the work, to be alive, must also. From intent and purpose come a way, where theres a will, theres a way. There is no will anymore. THATS one of my major issues. And one only Monet and Renoir among the impressionists could do, and at times Morisot. Degas and the post impressionists obviously took that up, and bequethed it to Modernism. Pollock had it, De Kooning, de Stael. Soulage did it using almost all black. What happened to skill? It comes from the sense of purpose that art schools never taught. And no longer exists, these kids wouldnt know it if they saw it. Your boy Morandi also. His at a low, subtle glow.
    Sigh. How sad.

  5. Yeah, it’s interesting. Most artists that did get their paintings to live did it in their mid to later years, so it’s something that is picked up after a lifetime of work.

    As artists, that’s all we can do; work. We can’t decide our place in history or force our painting to hum with life, but we can work. Work, a lifetime of work is the only way to get close to any good art of the past.

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