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Enduring Legacy of Monet


Enduring Legacy of Claude Monet Celebrated in Featured Exhibition at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Arts

Kansas City, MO. Oct. 3, 2023– In honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Impressionism in 1874, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City is mounting an intimate exhibition to celebrate the movement’s founder, ClaudeClaude Monet Japanese Bridge Monet, through an exploration of his impact and legacy on a successive generation of artists. Centered around three spectacular loans from the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, along with the museum’s own Water Lilies panel, and two additional works by the artist, Monet and his Modern Legacy explores the paintings and their critical response within their own era and the indelible impact they made on a subsequent generation of artists in North America, including Philip Guston, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Roy Lichtenstein, Grace Hartigan, and Jules Olitski, among others. Monet and his Modern Legacy opens Oct. 28 and runs through March 10, 2024.

“Our understanding of Claude Monet’s legacy is still in formation, and this exhibition, featuring a unique assembly ofhis late works with those of a successive generation of abstract artists, plays a vital role in shaping that ongoing conversation,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins.

In his later years, Claude Monet refused to take it easy, despite achieving fame as France’s most successful living painter, grieving the loss of two loved ones, and battling the debilitating effects of vision loss. Instead, he continued Painting: Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011). Cable, 1971. Acrylic on canvas, 108 x 81 inches (274.32 x 205.74 cm), The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Gift of the Friends of Art, F78-37. © Helen Frankenthaler / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.to reinvent his style even though he doubted himself. His later paintings, including Water Lilies, were disparaged by critics and the public as having abandoned the formal rules of painting. However, with the emergence of abstract art following World War II, attention once again shifted towards Monet. This time, abstract artists recognized deeper elements in his color usage, distinctive painting style, and techniques.

“Monet’s large-scale late, liquid landscapes, with their fluid brushwork and shifting colors, blurred the boundaries between land and water, reality and abstraction; qualities that resonated with mid-century abstract artists and inspired a new generation,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator, European Arts.

These later paintings served as a personal creative outlet for Monet, a space where he could explore and process the world around him from the comfort of his home. They pushed him towards pure abstraction.

The exhibition will also tell the story of the museum’s acquisition of Monet’s Waterlilies panel. In 1956, the museum was reticent to acquire the large, late work by the artist due to its scale and lack of full-fledged critical endorsement of Monet’s late paintings at the time. The date of the artist’s death was also on the cusp of a rule instilled by founder, William Rockhill Nelson in his will that income from his trust should not be used to purchase artworks by any artist who had not been dead for at least thirty years. This led a group of students and faculty at the Kansas City Art Institute to circulate a petition advocating for the acquisition.

The following programs are associated with Monet and his Modern Legacy:

Instants, Moments, Hours: How Monet Paints Time Presented by André Dombrowski
Thursday, November 2 | 6-7 p.m.
Atkins Auditorium

Author of the forthcoming book Monet’s Minutes André Dombrowski draws fresh connections between Monet’s paintings and the seismic shift in time consciousness in the late 1800s: the advent of global standardized time. This talk delves into Monet’s innovations for picturing such revolutionary time structures: whether painting train stations or devising his famed series paintings of haystacks, poplar trees, and cathedrals.

The annual Atha Lecture celebrates the life and vision of Joseph S. and Ehtel B. Atha. Deeply dedicated to the arts, their legacy at the Nelson-Atkins includes generous gifts of art including Claude Monet’s Mill at Limetz and other seminal works in the museum’s collection.

“Un” Plein Air Sketch Night
Friday, December 15 | 6:15–7:45 p.m.
Repeated Friday, February 16 | 6:15–7:45 p.m.
Rozzelle Court Restaurant
$25 public | $20 members

Take a cue from Monet’s paintings created en plein air (outdoors) while escaping the winter chill with this “un-plein air” evening of spontaneous sketching indoors. Artist and educator Anthony High will teach you techniques for capturing the twinkling lights and architecture of Rozzelle Court using watercolor pencils. All supplies are provided for the evening, along with a free water lily mocktail. A glass of French rosé and other Sips & Snacks are available for purchase.

From Forgotten to Famous: Monet’s Late Work and How “Water Lilies” Came to Kansas City
Thursday, February 22 | 6-7 p.m.
Atkins Auditorium
$12 public | $8 members

Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts, and Brigid M. Boyle, Bloch Family Foundation Doctoral Fellow, invite you into a conversation uncovering how Monet’s late works went from forgotten to famous in the span of a few decades.


Free Weekend Fun: Express Yourself!
Saturday, November 4, 2023-Sunday, February 25, 2024
Gallery Activity / L2

Jump into the world of Abstract Expressionism by creating your own self-expression collage.

Learn how a few artists were inspired by Claude Monet’s paintings and the new methods they chose to create art. Explore the gallery to see the surprising outcome of their work with the help of Museum Guide Volunteers.

See nelson-atkins.org for the latest program updates.

Image captions:
Claude Monet, French (1840 – 1926) Japanese Bridge, 1918. Oil on canvas; 35 x 39 3/8 inches (89 x 100 cm). Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, Inv. 5092. Michel Monet bequest, 1966.
Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011), Cable, 1971, Acrylic on canvas, Unframed: 108 x 81 inches (274.32 x 205.74 cm), Gift of the Friends of Art, F78-37

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This exhibition is generously supported by Paul DeBruce and Linda Woodsmall-DeBruce; the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation; Shirley Bush Helzberg; Nancy and Rick Green; Husch Blackwell LLP; and Hallmark Cards, Inc.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds.

The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of more than 42,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and Native American and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. In 2017, the Nelson-Atkins celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Bloch Building, a critically acclaimed addition to the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday through Monday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art