Bright and warm, Claude Monet’s En Paysage dans I’île Saint-Martin (on view in Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Collection) depicts a nearly perfect day. Monet painted this scene in Vétheuil, a small village forty miles west of Paris, where he lived with his wife and two children, as well as the family of his patron, Ernest Hoschedé. In settling in Vétheuil, Monet hoped to find not only creative inspiration, but also imagery that could be translated into salable pictures that would replenish his dwindling financial resources. Filling the canvas with loosely applied dashes of brightly hued paint, Monet captured light and atmosphere—a goal shared by his fellow French Impressionists. One of the original members of that group of avant-garde painters, Monet painted what he sensed, not just what he saw.
Painted during his third summer in the village, Giverny (ca. 1889) is a prototypical example of the technique that earned Theodore Robinson his reputation in America. Using a vantage from a hillside overlooking the Seine valley, he adjusted his easel to paint several views of the rural landscape. The strong composition and strict delineation of architectural elements in Giverny hark back to Robinson’s academic training, while the bright violet-and-green palette and deft, summary treatment of the light-dappled foliage betray his exposure to impressionism. In Giverny, Robinson emphasized parallel diagonal lines that radiate to the left of the picture plane and terminate at the horizon line near the top of the canvas. Robinson executed this painting en plein-air—out of doors—capturing the immediate brilliance of the sunlight and warm colors of the country, a technique he no doubt learned from Monet.
Put your hands together for Tiffany, winner of May’s uCurate prize. Tiffany incorporated a number of themes into her two-room exhibition, American Beauty. Of her exhibition, Tiffany says:
“The beauty of Americana is showcased via various landscapes, time periods, mediums, and palettes. From the first gallery filled with the modern richness of Cubist, Abstract Expressionism, mixed with more “classical” landscapes provides a bold overview. Transitioning from the first room, painted yellow, into the second room, painted a more traditional gray, we step into a world of American scenes, seascapes, cold landscapes, baseball, and urban landscapes.”
Start curating for your chance to win next month’s prize, a Made in the USA exhibition catalogue.