PHOENIX, ARIZONA.- The Phoenix Art Museum presents In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny through May 8, 2005. Discover one of the great personal stories in American art - how America's first impressionist artist found inspiration through his friendship with Claude Monet - in the first major exhibition to explore the works of Theodore Robinson while at Monet's Giverny. See paintings by both Robinson and Monet, together again.
In 1887, Theodore Robinson left New York and began a six-year period of extended stays in Giverny, the charming French village where Claude Monet had settled just a few years before. Monet was clearly the reason for Robinson's choice-the town's population was under three hundred, and was a long walk from the nearest train station. He was not alone in seeking out Monet and a comfortable rural place to work. In fact, there was a small, tight-knit community of American painters working in Giverny. But, it was Robinson who developed the closest and most productive friendship with Monet, enjoying his mentor's respect and artistic camaraderie. They shared techniques, caught up on the news of the latest exhibitions, shared meals and discussed the progress on their latest paintings.It was during these years Robinson spent working in proximityto Monet that this classically-trained American artist adopted the fresh brushwork and vibrant palette of the Impressionist movement, and made them his own.
In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny features over 50 of Theodore Robinson's luminous paintings, alongside several stunning masterpieces by his friend and mentor Claude Monet, including selections from his signature series of haystacks and the Rouen Cathedral. Their methods and their friendship are revealed to the public for the first time, as well, through correspondence, diary entries, and photography. The exhibition features breathtaking views of Giverny in every season and charming portraits of local villagers among the picturesque architecture, stone footbridges, and winding farm paths that enchanted Robinson. His Giverny paintings are considered to be his strongest body of work.
Works in the exhibition represent Robinson's
artistic evolution in Giverny. Not only did he adopt techniques of the new Impressionist movement, but, like Monet, he became increasingly attuned to the subtle changes in light and color at different moments through the day. And, like Monet, he began painting multiple canvasses to record similar views under varying atmospheric conditions. Several of Robinson's paintings present the villagers outdoors in Giverny, bathed in light and color as they go about their lives, including his mysterious favorite model, Marie. Though her identity is unknown to history, she played a vital role for the artist and appears in numerous works. Unlike other figural compositions in which a model's features are rather generalized, Robinson's images of Marie are refined and carefully drawn, giving her a distinctly recognizable persona.
Panoramic views of Giverny from high in the hills rising above the village demonstrate how Robinson's artistic focus gradually evolved from figural images to include Impressionistic landscapes. Archival photographs of the town and Robinson's own photographic studies included in the exhibition show the actual appearance of the specific locales he painted and give insight into the use of photography in his working method. However, Robinson's synthesis of Impressionist and figural representation was an important part of what he brought back to America, and American Impressionism, ultimately, was less dominated by landscapes than its French counterpart.
In Monet's Light brings together works from the nation's leading museums, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as private collections. A full-color catalogue, available for purchase in The Museum Store, shows how Robinson's close contact with Monet transformed the American artist's work and includes photographs and excerpts from Robinson's letters and diaries.
Exhibition sponsors - This exhibition is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art. Generous support for the Arizona showing is provided by Bank One, BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona, America West Airlines, Aon, Michael and Heather Greenbaum, Virginia G. Piper Exhibition Endowment Fund and the Museum's Connoisseur's Circle. Promotional support is provided by The Arizona Republic, NewsRadio 620 KTAR, Bashas', Phoenix Magazine, Telemundo Phoenix KDRX TV 48, La Voz, KJZZ/KBAQ Public Radio Phoenix and Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.