Ratesjul (ratesjul) wrote,


In preparation for going to see the "Monet and the Impressionists" Exhibition in a week and a half, I borrowed the Exhibition catalogue from my library and read it.

Yes, I'm a geek.

From Andre Masson's "Monet the founder" Verve, vol 7, nos 27-28, 1952:

"Monet's work is one of the great turning points of painting, a commotion, the primacy of light (or, if you prefer, of colour-light). He spoke of the flash, the flare, the flame of Bordighera: 'Here everything is pigeon-breat and brandy-flame'. These few words sufficed to commend the place. Sun-loving, he saw luminosity everywhere, even in shadow, and there was nothing black in the festival he brought along with him, not even coal. His logic required it thus, his poetic also - and, though his luminist impulse affected all his companions, none followed him absolutely in this respect.

He was a painter of appearances (not a theologian), in tune with his vision of reality, of which he gave a lyrical, enthusiastic account. He accpeted the flight of time, the ephemeral. hee had a new way of seeing, feeling, loving nature. Perhaps he went too far in letting others say that he was satisfied with recording colour-sensatins, 'letting the eye take its coourse'. the truth is that he knew better than anyone how to 'organise his sensations', how to choose a representative colour from the flood of infinite iridescence.

It must be emphasised: this atmospheric envoelopment was recreated at the artist's initiative. He didn't abandon himself to a passivity of sight. Nature offered him a profusion of rapports which he simplified into a set of principal accords: here imaginiation exercised its rights.

There was no a priori form: based on the power of light, the exaltation of colour caused a negation of contours (or limits). The completed work found its balance through the fusion of elements.

Absense of formal limitation led to a fantastic inventiveness where touch was concerned. Touch distinguished the various aspects of the painting (the main body of it being atmosphere) - a touch of many accents: crisscrossed, ruffled, speckled. you have to see it in close-up - what a frenzy!"


From Lilla Cabot Perry "Reminiscences of Claude Monet from 1889 to 1909. The American Magazine of Art, vol 18, no 3, March 1927, pp119-25

"I remember him once saying to me:
'When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact colour and shape, until it gives your own naive impression of the scene before you.'

He said he wished he had been born blind and then had suddenlyy gained his sight so that he could have begun to paint in this way without knnowing what the objects were that he saw before him. He held that the first real look at the motif was likely to be the truest and most unprejudiced one, and said that the first painting should cover as much of the canvas as possible, no matter how roughly, so as to determine at the outset the tonality of the whole. As an illustration of this, he brought out a canvas which he had painted only once; it was covered with strokes about an inch apart and a quarter of an inch thick, out to the very edge of the canvas. Then he took out another on which he had painted twice, the strokes were nearer together and the subject began to emerge more clearly.

Monet's philosophy of painting was to 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."
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