Monet's secret private collection to go on exhbition

Claude Monet

Art curators and historians have reassembled Claude Monet’s private collection for a new exhibition at the Marmottan Monet Museum, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

According to TheLocal.fr, this is the first time the collection has ever been publicly exhibited.

Monet did not show the collection to many people. He used to tell journalists, "I am selfish. My collection is for myself only...and for a few friends.”

In fact, until recently, even art historians did not know many of collection’s details.

The collection was stored at his home in Normandy, Giverny, and the artist did not keep records of his purchases. A list of the paintings was drawn up after his death, but it was lost or destroyed during World War II.

The exhibition is co-curated by Marianne Mathieu, head of collections at the Marmottan, and Dominique Lobstein, an art historian.

Mathieu and Lobstein had to track down approximately 120 works.

Monet obtained some of the works by trading with his contemporaries. The collection features works that were gifted to Monet by the likes of Renoir and Manet.

When Camille Pissaro asked for a loan to help buy a house, Monet was happy to oblige – so long as he received the painting “Peasant Woman Planting Stakes” in exchange. The fact that Pissaro had promised this painting to his wife did not deter Monet.

The co-curators were somewhat surprised to find works by Seurat and Signac in the collection. Both artists were neo-Impressionists who had rejected elements of Monet’s own Impressionism. In fact, Monet refused to exhibit alongside them.

"This shows there was a dichotomy between what he said publicly and what he collected," said Mathieu.

Once Monet had achieved financial stability, he added works from Delacroix, Boudin, and Corot. All three artists were major influences in his own work.

However, he spent the largest sums on paintings by Cézanne and Renoir.

He also purchased prints by the Japanese artist Hokusai.

Most of the paintings on show are now owned by the Marmottan, but 12 Cézannes are on loan from the São Paulo Museum of Art.

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