Special Exhibition in Legion of Honor
By: Jinsong Tu
April 4th was the second day of spring break. We went to the San Francisco Legion of Honor on that day to visit a special exhibition of this museum—”Monet: The Early Years”.
Claude Monet was one of the most important painters in France, promoting most of the theory and practice of Impressionism by himself. He was the French painter known as the “Impressionist leader”, one of the representatives and founders of Impressionism.
Monet specialized in the experimentation and expression of light and shadow. His most important style was changing the shadows and contours of the painting; in the paintings of Monet, one does not see the highlight of flat painted contours. However, it is the unique colors of light and shadow that are the greatest feature of Monet’s works.
“Monet: The Early Years” will be the first major U.S. exhibition devoted to the initial phase of Monet’s career. We saw nearly 60 of Monet’s works. Through all of these paintings, the exhibition shows the radical innovation and development of the artist from 1858 to 1872. During this period, the young painter developed his unique visual language and style, creating exciting paintings, namely through surface and light interaction. The works of this exhibition represent a process that embodies Monet’s paintings from the traditional to Impressionist. Some of these paintings have descriptions about the subject, such as families and friends getting together. Some of them depict the same scene at different times resulting in varying lights and shadows, very distinctive trademark of Monet’s works.
Many paintings in this exhibition were my first time and probably will be my last time seeing them. This exhibition were all the more special because the Legion of Honor selected works from some of the most important international collections like The Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and other public and private collections worldwide. I highly recommend this exhibition. Don’t wait! The exhibit only lasts until May 29.