Water Lilies and Caricatures: Monet At The Art Institute of Chicago

Yes, the Art Institute of Chicago is open and it’s first feature show is Monet And Chicago! It’s a wonderful show that surprised me.

Let’s start with the least familiar thing about Claude Monet…his caricatures. If I had ever known that he was known for caricatures, I had certainly forgotten it and found myself bemused and amused when I walked into the gallery featuring a number of his pieces. They really are quite clever…here’s an example…but I didn’t take any photos in this gallery so this is from the catalog:

photo by Ed Heinzelman from the catalog to Monet And Chicago, 2020

The core of this show is the many Monet paintings from the holdings of the Art Institute itself and that was pretty much what I expected to see. But it is augmented with quite a few other paintings from anonymous private collections that we probably don’t get to see very often. That alone makes the show well worth taking the time to visit. But of course the room that everyone will spend the most time in, features a number of Monet’s most loved water lily paintings. These are living room size paintings, not the all encompassing and breathtaking mural size paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, but this room is still a perfect refuge from the storm. Here are my three favorites but these aren’t all of the water lily paintings on view (and I apologize for my average photos):

© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : Water Lily Pond 1900
© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : Water Lilies 1904
© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : The Water Lily Pond circa 1917 – 1920

There are any number of charming and delightful paintings through out…some themes that will be very familiar and some that will feel new. Particularly some of his earlier landscapes. I fell in love with this painting, and I am not sure if I have ever seen it before. It is from a private collection and it is an exquisite water scene.

© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : The Mill At Limetz 1888

And there are a number of atmospheric paintings from foggy old London including two of Waterloo bridge…one in fog and one in sunlight. Here is the cheerier of the two:

© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect 1903

This show is absolutely delightful and I encourage everyone with even a slight interest in Monet to visit and see it all for yourself. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like Monet! The show will run through January 18, 2021, so there should be plenty of time to visit.

Wondering about safety in the era of COVID? AIC is limiting the number of visitors to the museum in general but we went on a week day and it wasn’t an issue. I was surprised at how few people were in attendance. The Monet show requires a timed ticket. It is free for members but an additional $7 for everyone else. BUT I would buy them as far ahead of time as possible because they are selling out. They will text your phone when it is your turn to enter the exhibit area. The exhibit area itself is fairly open, there are lines on the floor, and the one video has a limited audience with spaced footprints on the floor. The guards are enforcing entry to the video. Masks are required. Benches are marked for spacing. Parking in the Millennium Park parking garage is currently discounted. I think that covers it!

And just as we transition from summer to fall…winter is coming…so here are two final paintings featuring snow! Enjoy:

© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : The Seine at Port Villez, Snow Effect 1885
© 2020 Ed Heinzelman : Monet : Sandvika, Norway 1895

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