Rothko vs Monet abstraction

Rothko facing the "abstract impressionism" of Monet The Musée de Giverny offers a dialogue between the abstraction of the post-war New York painter and the last period of the key founder of Impressionism. Mark Rothko, Untitled , 1957, oil on canvas, 247 x 207 cm, Claude Monet, Weeping Willow , between 1920 and 1922, oil on canvas, 110 x 100 cm, Musée d'Orsay. Landscapes without limits resist the possibility of being traversed by the gaze. Generally applied in transparent glazes, the color gives rise to quasi-rectangular configurations, superimposed symmetrically on an almost monochrome background. The shapes are like chromatic sheets of radiant luminosity with blurred and moving contours. No indication of the genesis of the Painting, nor traces of brushwork or brushstrokes are indicating the process. The works transform into a layered wall of color, which vibrates and expands, captivating the viewer with its hypnotic effect. In this description, the visitor easily recognizes the Painting of Mark Rothko (1903-1970). The Giverny Museum brought together half a dozen magnificent paintings by the American artist, a feat when it is so difficult to obtain loans. Opposite this giant of abstract expressionism are exhibited works by Monet (1840-1926), also of exceptional quality, mainly from the last two decades of the painter's life. The exhibition aims to show the link between the late production of the French painter and the abstraction practiced by Rothko. However, this is not the first attempt in this direction. In 2018, Musée de l'Orangerie, with "American abstraction and the last Monet", recalled that Alfred H. Barr brought a large panel of Water Lilies into the MoMA in New York in 1955. The famous historian of art sees in Monet "a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the most advanced contemporary school of abstraction in New York". "I would like to create a place" Because it was the American painters of the post-war period who paid homage to the all-over, "defocusing" aspect characteristic of Monet's last series. With him, the horizontal and the vertical merge, the horizon line fades, the sky disappears, and there is no longer any distance or foreground. However, let us keep in mind that for Monet, the choice of "abstraction" in no way means that he is turning his back on nature, even if the figurative representation of these places of mimetic fragility fades to leave room for feelings. This does not prevent Rothko from declaring: "In my work, therefore, one finds the direct awareness of an essential humanity. Monet had this quality and that is why I prefer Monet to Cézanne" ( incatalog of the exhibition). Unfortunately, this vague, even enigmatic affirmation does not offer a real key to understanding Monet's plastic influence on Rothko. It is therefore from the dialogue between the works that the curator Cyrille Sciama tries to convince the viewer of the relevance of this rapprochement. Is the result convincing? The answer is yes and no ". Unquestionably, the works of the two artists call for contemplation. Unquestionably, both seek to immerse the viewer in their canvases – Rothko will even say : "I would like to create a place. »One could speak of pictorial installations, or even of installations altogether when one thinks of the Orangery, this temple dedicated to Monet, and the chapel of Huston, painted entirely by Rothko. The latter enlarges the formats to reach the monumental scale and reduces the disparity between the work's materiality and the spectator's body. Thus, finding a common point would have required large pieces made by Monet – an impossible task. Proof of this is the room where the splendid Emerald-colored Untitled (1957, (see ill.]) created by Rothko, and Water Lilies with Willow Branches(1916-1919) by Monet, large size. Elsewhere, the difference in the plastic treatment specific to each of the two creators is striking. Admittedly, with Monet the meticulous touch of his youth gives way to broader, more covering brushstrokes, but which still allow the vibrant light the possibility of clearing its way and animating the surface. With Rothko, the structures of a trembling geometry do not owe their vibration to this impressionistic "scattering". More than light, it is a luminosity that the artist obtains through the ethereal aspect of color, even when he uses saturated or velvety tones. In his attempt to reach what one might call an "absolute" of Painting, Rothko establishes a dialectic stretched to the extreme between pictorial materiality and the search for spirituality. Undoubtedly, the artist does not forget the amorphous and liquefied configurations of the Water Lilies– one even thinks of the aquatic universe and the luminous and transparent atmosphere of his surrealist period (1945-1946). Like all this generation, Rothko recognizes a debt to Monet. However, the few decades that separate them give rise in him, according to the American critic Clement Greenberg, to "a genre of the painting which apparently makes the economy of any beginning, middle or end" ( Partisan Review , 1948). Or, as Barnett Newman puts it, the Painting here testifies to a desire to start from scratch, as if it had never existed (in a conversation from the documentary film Painters Painting, 1973). Monet/Rothko, until July 3, Musée des impressionnismes-Giverny, 99, rue Claude-Monet, 27620 Giverny. seen in Le journal des Arts- Itzhak Goldberg

Rothko vs Monet abstraction

Rothko facing the "abstract impressionism" of Monet The Musée de Giverny offers a dialogue between the abstraction of the post-war New...