Monet in Vegas

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John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood, 1887

John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood, 1887

Much to report from Sin City, but for now I want to recommend a Claude Monet exhibit in the most unexpected of places—the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. On loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (not without controversy), this collection of a couple dozen paintings gives a good look at the Impressionist’s growth as an artist. I’ve always found Monet a bit overrated (living in Chicago, there is almost always some flavor of Impressionist exhibit running to keep the Chicago Art Institute coffers full). With this collection though, I was struck by his attention to detail (from a distance, his brush strokes blend into almost photo-realistic shading, especially his rare urban scenes) and his penchant for the ephemeral.

The recorded tour points out the Impressionists’s roots in realist painting and everyday scenes, as opposed to the then vogue academy painting celebrating idealized mythological subjects. However, with Monet’s turn to landscape painting, and eventually to his home in Giverny, the artist increasingly shaped the world he painted, relying less on capturing the elusive light of this or that region of France and instead depicting a world created a priori.