The Denver Art Museum is an architectural marvel; it mixes modern angles with simple design that draws art enthusiasts to its halls. Many of the museum’s exhibits feature pieces from local artists and showcase Colorado’s creative history. The museum frequently showcases renowned artists that draw crowds of thousands. In the past, the museum has exhibited the world class designs of Dior, the iconic costume design used in the Star Wars franchise, and collections showcasing the best pieces created during a specific era.
The Claude Monet: The True of Nature exhibit is a stunning addition to the museum’s exhibition history. According to the Denver Art Museum website, this is “the most comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Monet paintings in more than two decades.”
Upon entering, visitors are handed a listening device that provides a guided tour of the French artist’s work. Museum-goers are greeted with a large impressionist painting that reminds them of Monet’s classic style with a brief description of Monet’s life on the opposite wall. Walking through the exhibit, people will find Monet’s paintings housed in antique gold frames with silver plaques dating and describing the works of art.
Each room is themed and colored according to the period of Monet’s life it represented; there was a red room to contrast the lush greens of Argenteuil, a deep blue room to accompany the shores of the Netherlands, and a gray room to envelop the viewers in the London fog.
In between the rooms, viewers will find black-and-white videos of Monet in his garden, working on his next piece. The videos show a smiling man with a hat and thick beard as he explains the importance of color to an off-camera friend. On the wall adjacent to the screen, the words “Color is my day-long passion, joy and torment” are printed in a silver script.
Something noticeable about Monet’s art exhibit was the crowd it attracted. Typically, when one thinks of classical art or even art museums, an elderly crowd comes to mind. But not at this exhibit. There was a mother reading Monet’s story to her children. There was a young couple holding hands and chatting about Monet’s art process. A woman in a wheelchair and a man using a walker both stared at Monet’s pieces with childlike awe. A couple of people were alone, exploring and soaking in the artistic significance that each room held.
A significant part of the exhibit is the room for Water Lilies, which is considered Monet’s most acclaimed series. Welcomed into the room by a large blue and green painting of a peaceful bridge with floating lilies, viewers recognize they have most likely seen it in art textbooks and pinned to the wall in an art classroom. Lining the walls are paintings upon paintings of water lilies that Monet had in the personal garden. People could see the care and love that Monet had for both his garden and his artwork in this room alone.
Regardless of knowledge or admiration for art, the exhibit is one paints the story of Monet and his work in a beautiful and chronological way.
Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will be on display through Feb. 2, 2020 at the Denver Art Museum.