"Monet-Auburtin: An Artistic Encounter"
“Monet-Auburtin: An Artistic Encounter” at the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny contrast the work of the Impressionist master Claude Monet with that of Jean Francis Auburtin, a French painter a generation after Monet.
Monet was born in 1840 and grew up in Le Havre, the son or a merchant. Although he studied with several artists, he had no formal academic training in art. Indeed, Impressionism was in part as a rebellion against the staid, formal approach to art then embraced by the art establishment.
Auburtin was born in 1866, grew up in Paris and was the son of a celebrated architect. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. His work included decorative paintings for public buildings, which often depicted classical figures in natural landscapes.
However, by the time Auburtin reached maturity, Impressionist works were being exhibited in Paris and were influencing the next generation of artists. In particular, Auburtin became interested in plein air painting and began working on landscapes outdoors.
During his career, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean coast, Brittany and Normandy in search of scenes to depict. The exhibition documents that Auburtin traveled to many of the same places Monet had visited, sometimes depicting the same scene as the older artist.
Auburtin's paintings are not attempts to copy Monet. Clearly, Aubutin was influenced by Monet but while Monet was interested in the interplay of light and color, Auburtin was more interested in the contrast of natural elements such as rocks and sea. As a result, Auburtin's works are more muted and less colorful than Monet's work.
The majority of the 100-plus works in the exhibition are by Auburtin. However, there are several works by Monet. This is to Auburtin's disadvantage because while Auburtin was a good artist, the indefinable element of genius in Monet's works overshadows merely good work.
Nonetheless, this exhibition succeeds for two reasons. First, there are several Monet's and his works are always a pleasure to view as well as instructive for artists. Second, it underscores the extent of Monet's influence on artists even during his own lifetime.
Above:Claude Monet, L’Aiguille et la Falaise d’Aval, 1885.
Art review - Musée des impressionnismes Giverny - “Monet - Auburtin: An Artistic Encounter"