The focus of the exhibition is the visual, sentimental, and artistic exchanges that exist between, particularly, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series (1914-1926) and the work of Joan Mitchell. Whilst not contemporaries, both artists were residents of Vétheuil, a small village located on the bank of the Seine. Drawing upon the same landscape, each artist produces stunning and unique responses: Monet explores the sensation of his subject matter in his work whilst Mitchell conveys sentiments of emotion and memory through her paintings. Both, however, produce vivid pieces that demonstrate a responsiveness to light and colour, a correspondence of which the exhibition spotlights.
Monet - Mitchell boasts an abundance of exceptional pieces from both artists. One of these standout pieces certainly worth seeing is Claude Monet’s Agapanthus Triptych (ca. 1915-1926). At nearly thirteen metres long, this impressionist triumph was considered by the artist to be ‘one of his four best series’ and will, for the first time, be on display in its entirety in Paris. Another ground-breaking collection available to view at the exhibition is Joan Mitchell’s La Grande Vallée (1983-1984), a selection of ten paintings from what is considered to be her most important series, is being reunified for the occasion.
The exhibition will span eight galleries, accompanied by a critically and publicly acclaimed retrospective of Joan Mitchell’s work, the Joan Mitchell Retrospective, which will run simultaneously on the lower level of the Frank Gehry building. This presents some fifty of Mitchell’s works, organised in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art with the intention of providing Mitchell’s work a well-deserved public spotlight.
The retrospective aims to emphasise the distinctive nature of her work, saturated with vitality and exuberance, as well as to examine the life and work of an individual who is now recognised as one of the most influential artists of the latter twentieth century. The exhibition’s curator, Suzanne Pagé, describes Mitchell’s work as the “quintessence of abstraction in a manner that is entirely singular by its very paradox: ‘my painting is abstract,’ the artist said, ‘but it is also a landscape.’”