Thousands of art fans, including American film star Jodie Foster, waited in freezing weather Saturday night for a final viewing of a major retrospective on French impressionist painter Claude Monet during a 24-hour exposition at Paris' Grand Palais.
REUTERS - Thousands of art lovers queued in freezing temperatures on Saturday night for a final glimpse of a major retrospective on French Impressionist Claude Monet, after Paris' Grand Palais opened round the clock to cope with demand.
Wrapped in scarves and heavy coats, people queued for more than three hours to see the nearly 200 works by the 19th century master before the historic exhibition, the biggest one on Monet in decades, closes on Monday evening.
Staff from the museum brought hot drinks and slices of cake to keep up their spirits, and a clarinetist serenaded the shivering crowds.
Jean-Paul Cluzel, chairman of the Grand Palais, said the museum had decided to keep its doors open continuously from Friday to cope with the record number of visitors, expected to total nearly 1 million since the exhibition opened in late September.
"The three nights add up to 40,000 more visitors," Cluzel told Reuters TV. "There is a special experience, a special feeling when you visit such an exhibition by night. You're going out of a show, you're going out of a discotheque and then you dive into art, into painting, colours."
Some of the Parisians waiting outside confessed they had already seen the exhibition. For others, it was the highlight of a visit to the French capital.
"I'm painting myself in a way that Monet is doing and that's why I'm waiting here for three hours in the cold," said Bram Steenys from Holland. "And if it takes more than three hours, I think my feet should be amputated."
Among those braving the cold for a late-night viewing was American movie star Jodie Foster.
"I came all the way here (to Paris) to work and then i got sidetracked and decided to go see the Monet," she told Reuters.
Les Coquelicots à Argenteuil, 1873 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
"Poppies at Argenteuil" - The National Galleries of Paris’ Grand Palais have devoted an ambitious retrospective to Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926). It is the biggest exhibition on the life and work of the painter since 1980.
Fragment du Déjeuner sur l'herbe, 1865 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
"The Picnic" - Claude Monet painted for more than 60 years, and 200 of his works are shown in the exhibition. Some are well known, others less so. The curators have promised that the retrospective will feature “unusual links and new groupings of his paintings".
Glaçons sur la Seine à Bougival (Neige sur la rivière), 1867 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
In his youth, Claude Monet lived in Le Havre. He began outdoor painting, practising on seascapes or snow-covered landscapes. He learned to paint alongside French landscape painter Eugène Boudin and the Dutch Impressionist Johan Jongkind.
Méditation, Madame Monet au canapé, 1870-71 (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)
"Meditation (Madame Monet on the sofa)" - Monet’s first success was in 1866, when a painting entitled "Camille" - named after his companion and model Camille Doncieux - was a sensation at the Salon de Paris. In 1867, the two had a son, Jean, and married in 1870.
La Capeline rouge, vers 1873 (The Cleveland Museum of Art, US)
"The Red Kerchief" - The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 forced the painter into exile in London, and then in Holland. He came back to France in 1871, settling in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil.
Le Port du Havre, effet de nuit, 1873 (private collection)
"The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect" - The following year, with this painting, Monet participated in the first exhibition of Impressionists ever organised.
La gare Saint-Lazare à l'extérieur (le signal), 1877 (Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hanover)
As of the 1870s, Monet began exploring his interest in the light and colours of tourism and industrial sites in Paris and its surrounding suburbs, notably train stations - shown in this painting "Saint-Lazare station from the outside (the signal)- and ports.
La Falaise à Dieppe, 1882 (Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland)
"Cliff at Dieppe" - At the start of the 1880s, Monet returned to the Salon de Paris and organised his first personal exhibition. He spent time every year on the coast of Normandy until 1886.
Meule, effet de neige, le matin, 1891 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, US)
"Haystack, snow effect" - In 1890, his work takes a new direction: colours became vibrant, objects intangible, light an obsession. After a series of paintings on haystacks came those of poplar trees (1892), cathedrals (1893-1895), and mornings on the Seine (1896-1898).
Le Parlement, effet de soleil, 1903 (Brooklyn Museum of Art, Bequest of Grace Underwood Barton)
"Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect" - From 1899 to 1901, Monet spent time in the British capital. Nearly 100 of his paintings are of the River Thames or of London in the fog.
Les Nymphéas, 1904 (Musée des Beaux-Arts A.Malraux, Le Havre)
"Water Lilies" - In 1890, the painter settled in Giverny. The Grandes Décorations de Nymphéas cycle crowned Monet as a decorator. The artist died of lung cancer in 1926, and was buried in Giverny.
Femme au jardin, 1866 (Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)
"Woman in the Garden" - The exhibition will last until January 24, 2011. The website for the event is www.monet2010.com. Impressionism will also be celebrated this year at Paris Marmottan Museum, which has one of the world's richest Monet collections.
Date created : 2011-01-24