January 22 - May 28, 2017
To mark its twentieth anniversary, we are presenting one of the most important and best-loved artists: Claude Monet. The exhibition will be a celebration of light and color, illustrating the artistic development of the great French painter from Impressionism to his famous late work. It will feature his Mediterranean landscapes, wild Atlantic coastal scenes, different stretches of the Seine, meadows with wild flowers, haystacks, water lilies, cathedrals, and bridges shrouded in fog.
In his paintings, Monet experimented with changing light and color effects in the course of a day and in different seasons. He succeeded in evoking magical moods through reflections and shadows.
Claude Monet was a great pioneer, who found the key to the secret garden of modern painting, and opened everyone's eyes to a new way of seeing the world.
The exhibition will bring together sixty-three masterpieces from private collections and renowned museums such as the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Pola Museum in Japan, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Art Institute in Chicago.
The exhibition "Monet" is being supported by:
Hansjörg Wyss, Wyss Foundation
Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation
Bundesamt für Kultur BAK
Einführung mit Kurator Ulf Küster
"Wie Monet ein Philosoph der Bilder wird" - Ulf Küster spricht über die Hauptthemen der Ausstellung.
En Norvégienne, 1887
In the midst of dense green foliage, the viewer’s gaze is attracted by three women clad in light dresses and bright hats. These figures are Monet’s stepdaughters Germaine, Suzanne and Blanche Hoschedé, shown fishing from a boat on the Epte. This type of rowboat, known as a Norwegian on account of the wood it was made from, was popular in France at the end of the nineteenth century. We view the scene as if seated in another boat alongside. Nothing moves; time seems to stand still. The boat appears fixed in the water, even its reflection is entirely clear. A few meandering algae are visible under the surface—the motif that was most difficult to capture, as Monet wrote in letters to friends. The scene appears entirely cut off from the world; the borders between up and down, foreground and background, reality and reflection blend and vanish seamlessly into one another.
Les Peupliers au bord de l’Epte, 1891
In this work, we are confronted by a dynamic scene of poplar trees viewed against the light of a blue sky. We see several slender trees whose dark green foliage grows denser as it reaches the crown. The thin verticals of the bare trunks give the composition an upward thrust, which is counteracted by the S-curve formed by the trees’ crowns—effectively drawing the eye into the background. Along the lower edge flows the River Epte, whose bank seems barely tangible. White clouds are rendered in rapid brushstrokes that seem to virtually vibrate on the image surface. From his purchase of the Giverny house in 1890 onwards, Monet increasingly devoted himself to the landscape motifs of his surroundings. A year later, while walking along the Epte, he discovered this row of poplars. He painted the trees from his studio boat in different weather and lighting conditions. When the trees went up for sale, Monet managed to prevent their being felled by paying a fee. The poplars were eventually cut down after he had finished a series of 23 related paintings.
Vagues à la Manneporte, ca. 1885
Monet was fascinated by the soaring natural arch, La Manneporte, near the beach at Étretat, Normandy, and depicted it several times from various viewpoints. In this version, he captured it with rapid, heavy brushstrokes—giving the picture a sketch-like look. To reach an optimal viewpoint of the isolated arch, the artist had to invest considerable effort. He had to crawl through a narrow tunnel with his painting supplies, as there was no other access on land. A mistake in calculating the tide almost ended in disaster for Monet. In a letter to Alice Hoschedé dated November 27th, 1885, he reported being surprised and thrown against a cliff by a wave from the rising tide. Though he wasn’t hurt, he was angered that the wave had carried away his finished canvases.
Matinée sur la Seine, 1897
While working from his studio boat anchored at the confluence of the Epte and the Seine in 1897, Monet produced the major series collectively known as Morning on the Seine. These works are devoted to the changing light and atmosphere on the river. The motif is repeated as a reflection in such a way that the boundaries between painted trees, branches, clouds, and their mirror images are well-nigh obscured by rising fog. Up and down are barely distinguishable; the painting might just as well be viewed upside down. In other words, clarity of composition is sacrificed to a subjective perception of space. It would appear that Monet had intended to evoke a fundamental principle of nature known to the Greeks as panta rhei, or “everything is in flux.” For he not only depicted the changing light as night gave way to day, but addressed the constant movement of two currents flowing into each other.
Le Parlement, coucher de soleil, 1904
Setting up his easel on the terrace of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, Monet depicted the Houses of Parliament at sunset—an ambitious project that would not be completed until 1904, after several years of reworking. For him, the challenge consisted in faithfully conveying the visual impression experienced at the moment of seeing. Rather than idealizing the subject, he merely transferred fog, light and atmosphere into their equivalents in color. The imposing structure becomes the scene of a spectacle in color and light, whose spectrum ranges from dark violet and green to a luminous golden yellow. The contours of the building’s neo-Gothic towers and battlements on the opposite bank of the Thames are just discernable. The mist hovering over the river consists of a veil of fine brushstrokes spread across the scene—giving it a mysterious aura.
«The world's appearance would be shaken if we succeeded in perceiving the spaces in between things as things.» These words from the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty apply to the core of Claude Monet's art in the years between 1880 and the beginning of the twentieth century. While interest usually lies only on the early and late work of this exceptional artist, the catalogue, containing more than fifty works of art, traces the development between these two periods. Accompanied by texts by well-known art historians, the reader is invited to follow Monet's unusual treatment of reflections and shadows in his paintings. It allowed him to break loose from the modalities of representational logic and the pictorial object. And they made room for an aesthetic that helped to do justice to perception itself and to enforce a painting's self-reflexive momentum.
Oscar-Claude Monet was born in Paris on November 14, 1840, the son of Claude-Alphonse, a commercial officer,and Louise-Justine Aubrée. From 1845 on he grew up in the port city of Le Havre in Normandy, his father having found employment in the trading house of his brother in-law, Jacques Lecadre. The Lecadres owned a house three kilometers away in the little fishing village of Sainte-Adresse, which as a burgeoning bathing resort was much loved by the Monets. Claude attended the local high school beginning in 1851 and there received his first drawing lessons. His earliest surviving sketches dating from 1856 show caricatures of his teachers and the landscapes of Le Havre.
Accompanying the exhibition
Adults CHF/ € 8 Art Club CHF / € 7. Length: 60 minutes. Available at the information desk in the museum. Example: Introduction
Monet in the morning
Early risers can enjoy the works of Claude Monet in morning tranquility. Start your day with a curator’s tour or an accompanied meditation inside the exhibition. Breakfast is available afterwards in the Berower Park Restaurant for CHF 12.50. Breakfast reservations here.
Price: CHF 10 plus museum admission. Please note that places are limited.
The curator's tours take ca. 75 mins. (in German)
The meditation sessions take 30 mins. (in German) followed by individual visit of the exhibition
Alternate Tuesdays, 7.30 – 9 a.m.
January 24 Curator's tour with Ulf Küster - Sold out
February 7 Meditation with Tanja Koechlin (Yogastudio mint) - Sold out
February 21 Meditation with Salome Noah (Studio noa:yoga) - Sold out
March 7 Meditation with Salome Noah (Studio noa:yoga) - Sold out
March 21 Curator's tour with Ulf Küster - Sold out
April 4 Meditation with Ottilia Scherer (Chair Yoga Schweiz) - Sold out
April 18 Curator's tour with Ulf Küster - Sold out
May 2 Méditation en français avec Jiko Simone Wolf (Temple zen de Kôsetsuji)
May 16 Meditation with Zen-Instructor Dr. phil. Sensei Peter Widmer (Zen Zentrum Basel) - Sold out
Lecture by Marie-Paule Vial – "Au bord de la Méditerranée: Monet à l’épreuve de l’autre lumière"
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The French curator and former director of the Musée de l’Orangerie, Marie-Paule Vial, will be talking about light in the works of Monet.
In collaboration with the Alliance Française de Bâle and the Société d’Etudes Françaises de Bâle.
The lecture will take place in French.
Event included in museum admission.
Sunday, April 9,2017
10 a.m. -6 p.m.
At workshops in the park, museum, and our studios, children and parents can approach art in a playful and experimental manner through the artworks and themes of the current exhibition.
Under the Influence of Claude, Vincent, Paul… and the others
Der Einfluss der impressionistischen Malerei auf das junge französische Kino
Die Film-Installation von Matthias Brunner ist für die Fondation Beyeler anlässlich der Ausstellung „Monet“ entstanden. Sie dauert 30 Minuten und ist von der Symphonie Nr. 4 von Arvo Pärt untermalt.
Kaum eine Filmgattung ist so stark mit der bildenden Kunst verbunden, wie der impressionistische Film der 20er Jahre des letzten Jahrhunderts mit dem Impressionismus der französischen Malerei. Rein stilistisch betrachtet, wurden Filmpioniere und Regie-Ikonen wie Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac und Louis Delluc stark von der impressionistischen Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts geprägt. Aber auch zahlreiche andere grosse Künstler wie Man Ray, der sich später einen grossen Namen bei den Surrealisten gemacht hat, oder Regisseure wie Jean Vigo und Jean Renoir, die zum Vertreter des poetischen Realismus gehörten, wurden in ihren frühen Werken vom französischen Impressionismus geprägt. So wurde der Impressionismus zur Eingangspforte für spätere, radikale Veränderungen der Filmsprache.
Wer die Farben der impressionistischen Malerei im noch jungen damaligen Kino vermisst, wird grosszügig entschädigt durch die raffinierte Filmtechnik, die sich durch schnelle Montagen, Zeitraffer, Unschärfen, Doppelbelichtungen, Lichtreflexionen, etc. auszeichnet. Der Dialog Malerei – Film – Malerei lässt sich vielleicht am Besten – bis zum heutigen Tag - beim Werk von Jean-Luc Godard nachvollziehen. In seinen Filmen wimmelt es an Zitaten aus der Malerei und Kunstgeschichte.
Besonders erwähnenswert sind ausländische Regisseure wie Sergej Eisenstein und G.V. Alexandrov, die in Frankreich «Romance sentimentale» drehten sowie ein weiterer Russe, Dimitri Kirsanoff, der in der Schweiz die legendäre französisch-schweizerische Co-Produktion „Rapt“ nach Ramuz drehte, wie auch Alberto Cavalcanti, der in Paris arbeitende, brasilianische Regisseur mit «Rien que les heures». Ihre Filme – alles französische Produktionen - stehen den französischen Regisseuren in kaum etwas nach und werden immer wieder mit dem französischen impressionistischen Film in Verbindung gebracht.
Die filmische Collage mit Ausschnitten aus 25 Filmen der 12 berühmtesten Regisseure, die damals in Frankreich für Furore sorgten, ist als eine Hommage an die impressionistische Malerei zu betrachten und an den impressionistischen Film, aus dem später das «Cinéma Pur», der abstrakte Film, sowie auch der Surrealismus und der poetische Realismus hervor gingen.
In Gedenken an:
Jean Epstein; Man Ray; Abel Gance; Dimitri Kirsanoff; Louis Delluc; Sergej Eisenstein; Germaine Dulac; G.V. Alexandrov; Jean Renoir; Alberto Cavalcanti; Louis Feuillade; Jean Vigo
Mit besonderem Dank an:
Dr. h.c. Sam Keller, Dr. Ulf Küster, Prof. Dr. Gottfried Boehm, Dr. Pamela Kort, Christian Wirtz, Heinz Spoerli, Jürg Steinacher