Monet & Architecture
莫奈與建築


The National Gallery, UK
9 April – 29 July 2018

 

In a landmark show at the National Gallery in spring 2018 – the first purely Monet exhibition to be staged in London for more than twenty years – there is a unique and surprising opportunity to discover the artist as we have never seen him before.

We typically think of Claude Monet as a painter of landscape, of the sea, and in his later years, of gardens – but until now there has never been an exhibition considering his work in terms of architecture.

Featuring more than seventy-five paintings by Monet, this innovative exhibition spans his long career from its beginnings in the mid-1860s to the public display of his Venice paintings in 1912.

Buildings played substantial, diverse, and unexpected roles in Monet’s pictures. They serve as records of locations, identifying a village by its church (‘The Church at Varengeville, Morning Effect’, 1882, Collection of John and Toni Bloomberg. Promised gift to The San Diego Museum of Art.), or a city such as Venice (‘The Doge’s Palace’, 1908, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of A. Augustus Healy 20.634), or London (‘Cleopatra’s Needle and Charing Cross Bridge’, about 1899–1901, 
Eyles Family courtesy of Halcyon Gallery) by its celebrated monuments. Architecture offered a measure of modernity – the glass-roofed interior of a railway station, like The Gare St-Lazare (1877, The National Gallery, London) – whilst a venerable structure, such as ‘The Lieutenance de Honfleur’ (1864, Private Collection), marked out the historic or picturesque.

A man-made structure helps the viewer engage with the experience of a Monet landscape. A distant steeple (‘The Church at Varengeville’, 1882, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts) or nearby house (‘Gardener’s House at Antibes’, 1888, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade), are marks of scale, responding to our instinct to read our physical surroundings in terms of distance, destination, and the passage of time involved in transit.

‘Monet & Architecture’ will be displayed in three sections – ‘The Village and the Picturesque’, ‘The City and the Modern’, and ‘The Monument and the Mysterious’ – and will explore how one of the world’s best-loved painters captured a rapidly changing society though his portrayal of buildings.

Many world-famous and much-loved Monet pictures will be travelling to London: the ‘Quai du Louvre’ (1867, Gemeente Museum, Den Haag), one of his first cityscapes; the ‘Boulevard des Capucines, Paris’ (1873, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow) shown at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 where it aroused controversy; and the flag-filled ‘The rue Montorgeuil, Paris, The National Holiday of 30 June, 1878’ (Musee d’Orsay) made to celebrate the celebration of a national holiday.

Through buildings Monet bore witness to his location, revelling in kaleidoscopic atmospherics and recording the play of sunshine, fogs, and reflections, using the characteristics of the built environment as his theatre of light. He said in an interview in 1895 “Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat … I want to paint the air that surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat – the beauty of the light in which they exist.”

The exhibition is curated by Monet scholar Richard Thomson, Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh. He says: “It is a guest curator’s dream to be able to bring so many arresting paintings by such a great artist together and to combine them in groupings which bring out new ways of seeing his unrivalled work.”

繼皇家藝術研究院在1999年辦展之後,國家畫廊時隔20年,再次將莫奈個人繪畫展推上倫敦的舞台。此次展覽著眼於莫奈一生創作的重要對象之一——建築,展現了他遊歷各國的個人經驗,以及他對社會變化的一筆筆厚重描繪。

策展通過對不同作品仔細地對照和擺放,最終第一展廳確定了以“擬畫”(Picturesque)主題的風景畫為線索展開。儘管多數文獻將此詞譯為“如畫”,但和中國人熟悉的“風景如畫”的被動偶遇感不同,莫奈的自然風景畫中更多呈現的是一種積極的探索態度。通過主動地取景和觀察,将自然物畫為理想中的狀態。因此,比起“如畫”的臨摹感,莫奈的視線更像“擬畫”一般。

展覽以不同的建築位置和類型,分為三個主題,共展出從1860年代中期到1912年完成的近80幅作品。其中特別值得關注的有泰晤士河兩岸的風景,威尼斯的建築和法國魯昂大教堂在不同光影中的變化。

莫奈通過建築見證了他所處的位置和變化萬千的環境,那些村莊、城市、街道和教堂都化為他筆下光的劇場,記錄了一場由陽光、煙霧和倒影出演的戲劇。從“擬畫”開始到以威尼斯為主題的最後一廳結束,相對於他眼中的理想建築風景,幾葉扁舟小人不過掠影。

 

展覽場地:英國國家畫廊
展覽時間:2018年4月9日-7月29日