The Clackamas print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1989-2019, November 18, 1998, Page 6, Image 6

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    6
T h E
ClAckAMAS
P rínt
Wednesday, November 18, 1998
Monet exhibit
MANDI LINSTROM
Staff Writer
Yellow and Mauve Irises (Iris jaunes et mauves} 1924-1925
Claude Monet may be a house­
hold name and one of the found­
ing fathers of an artistic revolution,
but not many students are aware
that he was responsible for more
than the birth of Impressionism.
Impressionists like Monet gave
the world a new way to see color,
and helped people to realize, for
instance, that the experience of see­
ing a red roses against a lush green
background contains several other
colors as well.
For those who have become
blind to the “foreign territory" of
art, the Portland Art Museum is of­
fering the experience of encounter­
ing Monet in an unseen light—his
later years.
Monet: Late Paintings of
Giverny From the Musee
Marmottan is an exhibit that takes
a different approach to the life and
times of Monet. The exhibit
speaks of his history, but with a
focus generated toward the years
in which he painted witfi unseeing
eyes.
The 22 paintings that originated
from Monet’s later years were
painted when the eyes that once
took what they saw and made
unique impression upon society
went almost entirely blind. Monet
developed cataracts in 1912. By
1922, he was left with 10% of his
eyesight in one eye, while in the
other eye only light and shadows
were clear. Surgery to improve his
eyesight years later helped him to
regain only part of his eyesight.
As a result, the paintings on dis­
play may not be what one would
expect from Monet. While he is
remembered most for pioneering
the era of Impressionism and his
paintings of gardens and the Roun
Cathedral, the canvasses that com­
prise the main part of the exhibit
are strikingly different. The paint­
ings are abstract and dense with
bolder brush strokes and more vi­
brant tones, but they are as beauti­
ful—if not more—as the Monet
most people know.
One would think that when a per­
son loses the tool that is most valu­
able to them, they would be in­
complete. What is a painter with­
out his eyesight? However, Monet
rose to the challenge of lost eye­
sight and changed his minimal
view into one with a never ending
horizon. In fact some even say that
the works he painted after he lost
his eyesight rarely contained a ho­
rizon.
Instead, light and color were the
tools of an aging Monet, as well
assistance from his memory. He
would carefully select the colors
that he painted with and use larger
brushes on bigger canvases. The
end result was a form of painting
that was sparse and encompassed
more space.
Monet wrote to a friend just as
his sight began to fail. “Age and
troubles have exhausted my
Water Lilies (Nymphéas} 1903
The Pond of WaterLilies (Le Bassin aux nymphéas} 1917-1919