Monet on Paper

The Royal Academy of Arts in London will be showing an exhibition of Claude Monet from the 17th of March through to the 10th of June. They will be showing his pastels and drawings on paper, and possibly contradicting some of the myths of Monet.

“This exhibition is the first devoted to Monet’s drawings and pastels. It offers a ground-breaking exploration of the role of draughtsmanship throughout the artist’s long career, overturning the conventional notion that Monet painted his impressions of nature directly onto the canvas.” Royal Academy of Arts

claude monet on paperThe New York Times also has a piece on the exhibition with several pictures from it.
“He never meant for the public to see them,” Mr. Kendall said, adding: “It all comes back to marketing. His public image was important to him, and drawings complicated that picture. In fact, they even contradicted it.” NY Times (requires free registration)

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. Carol Vogel’s Times article, which I read after your posting, is interesting, making the point that the curators make in the interview with them, that Monet did not want to be known as an artist who painted, in part, from drawings rather than directly on canvas.(There us a Sargent portrait in the current Met exhibition of Money painting at Giverney in that fashion)
    However, saying this attitude was a matter of public relations is misleading. He (Pissarro and Cezanne, among others) believed that painting direct from nature was critical, resorting to the studio only when weather conditions or their own physical condition demanded that they do so.
    According to a recently published study, it was also important to them to profess this belief, as well as the look of a canvas created by rapid strokes, showing apparent spontaneity, rather then the polished surface demanded by the academy of their day. It was the hallmark distinguishing their method and approach from those they were seeking to supercede. In these terms, Monet could be said to be showing himself as the artist he would be rather than the artist he often was.
    As I write, one might say the same of Jackson Pollocks famous demonstration of his drip method for Life magazine ( I think it was). To say, as many supporters do, that he really knew what he was doing all the time, that it was all well plotted out in his mind, despite appearances, is to undercut the concept of his art as he felt it ought to be.
    To insist that either artist was working from a script, either on paper or in a mind with a memory capable of reproducing without paper is the same as saying that Groucho Marx was ad libbing lines written for him by the likes of George Kaufman and Sid Perlman. It is true but is simply showing the magicians tricks in a way that undermines the awe necessary for the success of their performance.

  2. I might go and see it… this black and white drawing interested me!

  3. How do they know he didnt want the public to see his pastel work? Even if he didnt, i dont see this being a downside, i believe a good artist should be capable of painting in many different styles, even if he/she is famous for a particular style, or prefers a particular style for example. I find it refreshing in fact that Monet has work in this cleaner style, even though his other work is also very good and marks him more specifically as the impressionist he is.

    Joel Langton

  4. I am very interested to see how the look and style of Monet’s drawings compare to that of his paintings. I completely understand the point Irv is making, but I’ve always been the kind of person who gets more excited when we get to see the secret trapdoor or trick knots that make the performance what it is. For me, this will not undermine the appreciation of a true artist but allow me to admire a whole other level.

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