Claude Monet descends in Hong Kong for the first time! A lot of people were excited about it, including me, because Monet is such an easy favorite among everyone, yes? The exhibition is part of the Le French May events this year, and is held at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum from 4th May to 11th July 2016.
Monet (1840-1926) was one of the forerunners of Impressionism, which focused on capturing modern 19th century life as one saw it by painting nature and scenery en plein air, which means to paint outdoors. The exhibition shows a selection of works that Monet did when living in different parts of France, including Argenteuil, Étretat, and Vétheuil, and while traveling overseas, including London and Venice, before finally settling in Giverny in the French countryside, so giving rise to the exhibition title ‘The Spirit of Place.’ (I like the Chinese title better 他鄉情韻, it feels like it has a better ring to it.)
The exhibition doesn’t bring in any big masterpieces of Monet’s, which is fine by me. One problem though is that I felt the order of the exhibits wasn’t coherent, with one continuous row of paintings jumping between places and the years painted. Since Monet had specific periods where he stayed in the above-mentioned locations, I was expecting a clear order when viewing the works.
All Claude Monet, Boats on the Beach at Étretat, 1883, all oil on canvas
Oat and Poppy Field, c. 1890
Effect of Spring, Giverny, 1890
Road to Giverny in Winter, 1885
The Seine at Vétheuil, 1879-80
The Break-up of the Ice at Vétheuil, Facing Lavacourt, 1880
Houses of Parliament, 1904
I first saw Monet at K11 Mall Shanghai two years ago when they had an exhibition outlining Monet’s work from his early caricatures to his series of water lilies and Giverny Japanese bridges in his later years. Houses of Parliament (from Monet’s time in London) was one of my favorites from that exhibition at K11, and I’m happy to see it again!
Gondola in Venice, 1908
Water Lily Pond at Giverny, 1917
While viewing this work, I actually overheard a boy asking his mom whether this work was real or fake… His mom replied that she wasn’t sure, but it was probably fake if it could be placed here for people to see… but he should go ahead and learn to appreciate the work whether it was real or fake anyway! That’s well and good, but these paintings are definitely genuine and real, people!
I really liked these two shots taken from an image slideshow at the exhibition. It shows the influence that Monet (and many other artists at the time) took from Japanese woodblock prints, such as prints of a Japanese style bridge which he recreated in his Giverny home. There’s also a black and white photo of Monet and his family on his Giverny-Japanese bridge.
I have to commend the exhibition’s super fun interactive activity, which allowed visitors to create their own water lilies and pond paintings à la Monet! It only takes a little tapping to choose your choice of flower and choice of color scheme to get round to creating your own large scale image. That culminated into tapping as much flowers and lily pads all over the screen as fast as possible, as you can see in the video below!
Besides the exhibition gallery, there are also two other education galleries that contain more interactive stuff. One of them features sets of Monet’s dining and living room, based on photos of his Giverny home.
An iPad showing a possible meal that Monet could have had, hehehe!
Okay, these paintings are fake. Only these ones outside of the exhibition gallery are fake though!
On a separate note, this set of Monet’s living room has artworks of other artists working alongside Monet hung on the walls, but the photo of Monet’s actual living room shows his own artworks covering every inch of the walls, ha!
And a simulated image of Monet’s view out the window of his home.
I thought the exhibition was a nice look into Monet’s work, and again, I’m always happy to view anything of Monet’s. I also put together a video of other fun stuff at the exhibition, have a look below!