In the Tuileries stands this gem among galleries. It has an outstanding collection of art and one celebrated painting on display: Claude Monet's exquisite Nymphéas (1915-27), in which water lilies float amorphously on the canvas. The water lilies are displayed as the artist intended them to be -- lit by sunlight in large oval galleries that evoke the shape of the garden ponds at his former Giverny estate.
Creating his effects with hundreds and hundreds of minute strokes of his brush (one irate 19th-c. critic called them "tongue lickings"), Monet achieved unity and harmony, as he did in his Rouen Cathedral series and his haystacks. Artists with lesser talent might have stirred up "soup." But Monet, of course, was a genius. See his lilies and evoke for yourself the mood and melancholy as he experienced them so many years ago. Monet continued to paint his water landscapes right up until his death in 1926, although he was greatly hampered by failing eyesight.
The renovated building also houses the art collections of two men, John Walter and Paul Guillaume, who are not connected to each other, except that they were both married at different times to the same woman. Their collection includes more than 24 Renoirs, including Young Girl at a Piano. Cézanne is represented by 14 works, notably The Red Rock, and Matisse by 11 paintings. The highlight of Rousseau's nine works displayed here is The Wedding, and the dozen paintings by Picasso reach the pinnacle of their brilliance in The Female Bathers. Other outstanding paintings are by Utrillo (10 works in all), Soutine (22), and Derain (28).
- © Frommer's 2013
- Recommended 2010