Arts Everyday Living: Monet and Rodin Together Again in the 21st Century

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MONET & RODIN TOGETHER AGAIN

IN THE 21ST CENTURY

A MINI-EXHIBITION 

In the late nineteenth century, Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) were rising stars in the Parisian artistic firmament.  Only days apart in age, they had become friends and colleagues, both leading innovators in their art forms.  On June 21, 1889, they combined their creative visions in a unique exhibition of some 145 canvases by Monet with 36 Rodin sculptures in the Georges Petit Gallery, opening on June 21, 1889.  No photographs appear to exist of that unique show, but I thought I would try to organize my own mini-display, imagining which canvas and sculpture I would pair together in my personal museum without walls.

For example, combining Monet’s dream-like Young Girls in a Row Boat,

Cluade Monet, Young Girls in a Row Boat, 1887, oil on canvas, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan

Claude Monet, Young Girls in a Row Boat, 1887, oil on canvas, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan

with the earthy passion of The Kiss.

Rodin

Auguste Rodin, The Kiss, 1882, marble, Musee Rodin, Paris

Or comparing the pace of Monet’s stroller in The Sheltered Path,

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Monet

Claude Monet, The Sheltered Path, 1873, oil on canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania

to the muscular stride of Rodin’s The Walking Man.

Rodin

Auguste Rodin, The Walking Man,1900, bronze, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

While Monet’s expressive sketch of Rouen Cathedral,

Monet

Claude Monet, Study of Portal of Rouen Cathedral, 1892, oil on canvas, Private Collection

and Rodin’s poignant depiction of medieval hero Jean D’Aire in the Burghers of Calais, reflect the artists’ spiritual affinity with the Middle Ages.

Rodin

Auguste Rodin, Burghers of Calais, 1884-1889, detail, bronze, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

And they would both be haunted by Camille.  For Monet, his wife Camille Doncieux, arising like a summer goddess below, who was his muse until her early death at 32.

Monet

Claude Monet, Camille and Jean, 1873, oil on canvas, Private Collection

Rodin’s inspiration was sculptor Camille Claudel, perhaps the sensuous model for La Toilette de Venus and his most erotic tributes to womanhood.

Rodin

Auguste Rodin, La Toilette de Venus, n.d., marble, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lille, France

The above image is used solely for educational purposes.

The main source for this blog is the website of the Musee Rodin.

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