A summer under the sign of Monet at the Fontevraud Modern Art Museum

A summer under the sign of Monet at the Fontevraud Modern Art Museum

A year ago, almost to the day, on May 19, 2021, the Museum of Modern Art of the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud opened its doors near Saumur, in Maine-et-Loire. To celebrate this first year of existence and its (already) 70,000 visitors, the young museum has seen things on a grand scale by hosting some thirty masterpieces by Claude Monet from June 10 to September 18. baptized Metamorphosesthe exhibition highlights Monet’s incessant work to capture the infinite variations of light on forms and landscapes.


The itinerary of the exhibition is punctuated by four sections which retrace Monet’s aesthetic objectives: to capture the fleeting moment, to render the variations of light through color, to delve into the motif and finally, to seize the intangible. Each part is punctuated by action verbs that allow a better understanding of the pictorial means used by the painter to achieve his ends. “Inscribing the seasons and times” and “Decentering” thus accompanies the first chapter entitled “Painting sensations”. There are tables like Snow effects, setting sun Where The Tuileries Garden.

The part “Fix the effect” declines the verb “Serial”. For Monet, painting in series makes it possible to fix the play of light on the same motif which is transformed according to the seasons and the hours. It is also a way for the painter to respond to the challenge launched by photography, capable since 1879 of capturing instantaneity.

A journey to the heart of matter and light.  (E. Aubron / France Televisions)

In the “Exceed the horizon” section, the verb “Immerge” offers the public the monumental format of Wisteria and water lilies, these works conceived as decorations whose grandeur and almost abstract treatment of the elements of the vegetation encourage contemplation. This part also illustrates a turning point in Monet’s life with the development in 1893 of his water garden in Giverny which will include a pond with water lilies, willows, a Japanese bridge surmounted by a wisteria.

Finally, last section of this exhibition: “Painting what we do not see” associated with the verb “Dissolve”. Here too, it can be correlated to a particular moment in Monet’s life. Suffering from an eye disease in 1912, he continued to paint but with a different perception of colors and masses, to the detriment of details. Its visual geography is changing and with it, the plant motifs, the water and the sky which are absorbed in color until they make way for a “wall of paint”.

This exhibition is all the more exceptional in that these paintings, which come straight from Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris, are lent for the first time to a regional museum. A choice which is also a way of celebrating a couple of collectors. The Fontevraud Modern Art Museum is made up of works from donations of Martine and Leon Cligman to the French State and the Pays de la Loire region. This couple also has links with the Marmottan Monet museum since it financed in 2012 the development of a room dedicated to the artistic creation of children.

Exposure “Metamophoses, in the art of Claude Monet” from June 10 to September 18, 2022 at the Fontevraud Modern Art Museum – Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, 49590 Fontevraud-l’Abbaye / Open 7/7 / Until 1er July 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., from July 2 to August 28 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. then from August 29 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Prices: from €3 to €6

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