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Monet’s Life & Art: From Paris to Giverny  

Maureen O'Brien DeGeller The exhibit "Monet: The Late Years, at the de Young Museum, February 16-May 27, 2019, features 50 paintings from the final phase of Monet’s career to his death in 1926. Inspired by the diverse and changeable environment of the garden at his Giverny home, motifs such as the wisteria-covered Japanese footbridge, lily pond, weeping willow trees, irises, daylilies, and agapanthus growing at the water’s edge were among the subjects he painted with increasingly gestural brushstrokes. This course will examine works that balance representation and abstraction and study the artist whose unique way of perceiving nature led the way to twentieth-century modernism. Week 1: Early years of Claude Monet from birth in 1840 in Paris to family relocation to Le Havre; inspired to paint outdoors by Normandy artist Eugene Boudin; years as art student in Paris; painting on the Normandy coastline and in the Forest of Fontainebleau with fellow art students. Week 2: Influence of Japanese art on Western artists, with particularly emphasis on Monet; marriage to Camille Doncieux and birth two sons; painting on the Seine, Paris and along the Normandy coastline. Week 3: Franco-Prussian War; painting in England and Holland; views of Argenteuil and the Seine 1871-78; First Impressionist Exhibition 1874 and subsequent exhibitions; death of Camille 1879; beginning of series paintings (Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, Poplars). Week 4: Life in Giverny from 1883; expanding the House of the Cider-Press; creating the Japanese-inspired water garden, footbridge, lily pond; painting the sights and lights of Venice in 1908; diagnosis cataracts 1911 and effect on painting; successful cataract treatment 1914; death second wife Alice 1911. Week 5: Effect of cataract treatment on color of Monet’s paintings; large-format waterlily paintings after 1914; construction large studio on property 1916; Weeping Willow canvases in response to World War I. Week 6: Large-scale and mural paintings depicting nature on the banks of the lily pond; Grand Decoration project, panoramic mural cycle (installed in the Orangerie of the Tuileries Gardens 1927); 42-foot-long Agapanthus triptych; death of Monet 1926. Maureen O’Brien De Geller received her B.A. and M.A. from Dominican University of California where she presently teaches courses in Western and Non-Western Art History. She has been a docent with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco since 2006.

 

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