Conquering the Monet Show

claudemoneytheparisblogdotcomEarly Saturday afternoon found me scurrying across to the 16eme arrondissement to the Grand Palais to see the special Monet exhibition. I was meeting a couple friends from class and as Monet is one of the few painters whose work I enjoy looking at in large quantities, I was quite excited. It was brisk but sunny morning and the Christmas market stands were already set up along the Champs d’Elysées as I joined my friends in line outside the Palais. Two hours later we were still standing there and contemplated for the first time, giving up and heading to a more accessible museum. And then the line moved a couple feet and we decided to stay. I had my hands wrapped up in my scarf and my feet seemed frozen at the soles but still, we stayed. Another hour later and we were finally in the final quarter of the line; I now had my scarf wrapped around my head, covering my ears and mouth. monetgrandpalaistheparisblogdotcomThe old French ladies behind us had started sharing hard candies with those around them, the French couple in front of us had long abandoned the line and everyone was trying to make conversation in an attempt to distract themselves from the fact that they could no longer feel their toes. For my part, my teeth had started chattering and when we finally made it to the very front of the line, I was huddled up in a ball on the bottom stairs of the Palais. It was only then that the stern French guard took pity on me and beckoned us inside. monetlinegrandpalaisparisblogThe exhibit has had a grand amount of success, with tickets selling out in the middle of the week through the weekend; even those with pre-purchased tickets must wait in a significant line before being allowed entrance. Once inside, the first few rooms are packed with people, but the crowds slowly thin out as the exhibit progresses. It is surprising walking through the rooms, how many of his oeuvres have made it out of France to the United States, though somewhat understandable given the cold reception Monet’s style of painting originally received in France. I especially enjoyed the fact that we were able to view his works on lightplay — paintings of the exact same spot painted at different times of the day, under different lighting such as the two Le Pont du Chemin de Fer at Argenteuil, one of which is at the Musée d’Orsay and the other of which is in Philadelphia— side by side, as they might have been intended, and not separated by oceans of water between two museums.
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