Claude Monet intended for his final masterpieces to be shown together in a Paris museum. The French state chose the Orangerie at the Tuileries to install his “Grandes Decorations," a series of now-prized water lily paintings created at the Impressionist's resplendent garden in Giverny.
But an important component of the installment did not fit in the space: his wisteria works. Wisteria paintings were to hang above the water lilies, in the artist's words, for “the illusion of an endless whole.” They were left behind in Monet's studio.
Ruth Hoppe, the modern art conservator at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, recently examined one of Monet's known Wisteria works, with an X-ray revealing an earlier water liles painting underneath. The surprising discovery raises some questions, and possibly the need for a re-evaluation of Wisteria in the artist's oeuvre, notes The New York Times.
An upcoming exhibition will offer a chance to view Wisteria works together. Monet -The Garden Paintings at the Gemeentemuseum (October 12, 2019, to February 2, 2020) will focus on the period 1900 to 1926. During this quarter of a century, Monet lived a secluded life on his property in Giverny, where he produced renowned paintings of his own gardens. Over time, he depicted the gardens in an increasingly abstract style. Many art historians have wrongly attributed this stylistic change to failing eyesight. But in fact Monet – at the height of his career – was still exploring new artistic frontiers, which later had a major impact on Abstract Expressionists and artists like Rothko and Pollock.
Monet - The Garden Paintings will be the first ever Dutch exhibition of this part of Monet's oeuvre, and will star the Gemeentemuseum’s own Wisteria alongside three of its six siblings.