Just when you think you’ve seen it all, and can’t be awed by renown Impressionist painters, comes the Kimbell’s Claude Monet the Early Years: 1858 – 1872.

You will be illuminated to find out that Monet, mostly known for his broad strokes of mixing colors to produce a shimmering visual effect, started out as an accomplished realistic painter. Up until the 1870’s Monet produced a body of work comparable to the best of his artistic times, even though many were rejected at first evaluation by the prestigious Paris Salon.

Most affective is the The Magpie (1868-69) where in an expansive rural snow scape on a canvas of 35 by 52 inches, Monet captures our attention and imagination not only in the frosty landscape but by the technical master class with the many shades of white. Off center a back lit black magpie perches on the top rung of a primitive wooden gate.  This lonely image is haunting yet peaceful.  From the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, it’s only one of the many paintings pulled together from a variety of collections for this extraordinary exhibition.

Sailboats on the Seine at Petit-Gennevilliers (1874), exhibits Monet’s full fledge Impressionism with the dancing water reflections of sailboats under a wistful cloud filled sky. Other water reflections examples can be seen in Houses on the Bank of the River Zoan (1871-72), and Regatta at Argenteuil (1872).

An added delight is the free with admission hand held audio and visual self-tour appliance. The traditional numbers that coordinates with the art, is enhanced here with a visual image on your device.  Not only for the painting you are currently viewing but for visual comparisons to other works of art not on display. Once such educational comparison is with Monet’s, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit (1869), compared to Renoir painting the same still life.  It may not be known that Monet and Renoir occasionally painted together with plein air subjects.   The two floral bouquets are easily and fascinating compared in this exhibition.

Be sure and take your time in the galleries to imprint on you mind the treasure of art you are among. A number of benches are placed throughout the exhibition giving you time to sit, view, spin, view and spin again, enabling you to take in, compare and imprint in your mind this once in a lifetime experience.

You may also want to stroll through the Kimbell’s main gallery of their permanent collection with samples of many of arts greatest artists. And if you visit the Museum Store adjacent to the Monet exhibit, say hello for me to congenial sales assistant, Alice.

This limited edition exhibition at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum is on display until January 29th. Admission for seniors is $16 and adults $18. More information at: www.kimbellart.org.

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