Accessible Art History
Monet at Étretat - Exhibit Review
Welcome back to the Accessible Art History blog! This week, I have a special, bonus post! Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Monet at Étretat show at the Seattle Art Museum. The SAM tends to focus more on modern and contemporary exhibits, so I get excited when I see something “old”! My good friend Sarah and I decided to make a day of it and it was absolutely incredible! I learned a ton about Impressionism and got to experience the genius of Monet in person.
Typically, when one thinks about Monet, they think about his water lily paintings. However
this exhibit used his work, Fishing Boats at Étretat, as it’s anchor. (No pun intended!) This small, fishing village in Normandy, France was a popular destination for tourists and artists in the late 19th century. Monet visited there hoping to break through creatively and to attain more financial stability. This exhibit was designed to show viewers his artistic process and to teach them about Impressionism.
Overall, I thought this show was fantastic! Although my speciality is Early Christian and medieval art, I’ve always had a soft spot for impressionism. I love the fact that the basis for the works are the momentary impressions, versus something more permanent.
Additionally, this was my first time seeing Monet in person! It gave me an entirely new appreciation for him! I loved being able to see the bits of color and texture in the work that doesn’t necessarily translate in photographs. I was struck by the subtle changes, but also
broad brush strokes. This show reminded me about why I love art history: it allows you to see the world through someone else’s eyes. My absolute favorite part, which might seem strange to some people, was the fact that I could see Monet’s signature on the majority of the pieces. It is small, but it is a way for me to connect with him across the centuries. I also loved that the show told the viewers about the town itself, so we could understand the setting.
I highly recommend you check out this exhibit if you are in the Seattle area. It is on display until October 17th and the ticket includes admission to the general museum collection. (Make sure to check out this Fayum mummy portrait we deemed as “Ancient Bill Murray”!)
If you do go, don’t forget to check out my video: “Five Must See Masterpieces at the Seattle Art Museum”!
(All pictures were taken by myself (Analisa Soverns-Reed) or Sarah Ashby. Please feel free to use them with proper attribution)