The Musée du Luxembourg will host an exhibition by the painter Claude Monet from March 15 to July 16, 2023

Claude Monet's fame and his role as a leader of Impressionism are now fully established, but the personality of his brother Léon, a color chemist, industrialist from Rouen and collector, has yet to be discovered. In 1872, Claude Monet, back in Le Havre, painted Impression, rising sun (Musée Marmottan Monet), while Léon founded the Industrial Society of Rouen and decided to provide active support to his brother and his Impressionist friends. These are the beginnings of the constitution of a remarkable collection of impressionist paintings. Recognized for his "lively and prompt intelligence" and his "cordial and frank" character, Léon Monet became a respected personality, very involved in the many cultural associations in the city of Rouen.

He encouraged Monet and his impressionist friends to participate in the 23rd municipal exhibition, where he himself exhibited four works from his collection. Thanks to his constant interest in the artists of his generation, the impressionists and the painters of the school of Rouen, he brought together – with the collection of his friend François Depeaux – one of the most remarkable collections of modern art in the Rouen region. The exhibition brings together a set of major works by Claude or his impressionist friends, but also those less known by the painters of the School of Rouen whom he had at heart to defend, around a route highlighting the Léon Monet's taste for works that evoke the landscapes of his childhood spent in Le Havre and also his professional and family development between Rouen and the Petites-Dalles on the Normandy coast.

It highlights the personality of this collector, his privileged links with his brother Claude and with some artists of his generation such as Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro and Auguste Renoir. The exhibition also presents color recipes, fabric samples and account books, evoking the industrial Rouen in which Léon Monet evolved. By creating a dialogue between paintings, drawings, photographs and color albums, the exhibition sheds new light on the intimacy of the Monet family and the shared taste of the two brothers for colour. While the chemistry of synthetic dyes is revolutionizing textile printing, the exhibition largely evokes the professional world in which Léon Monet evolved and highlights the industrial city of Rouen and its "Indian" factories.

The visitor is thus invited to discover the works constituting the collection of Léon Monet, but also to understand the role of first patron of the Impressionists that he was able to play. Claude Monet's first sketchbook, dated 1856, and the portrait of his brother Léon, executed by the artist in 1874, the year of the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris, are presented there for the first time.

scenography by Hubert Le Gall

The beginning of the exhibition presents the geographical and family environment of the two brothers Léon and Claude Monet. Two large portraits of the Monet brothers welcome us, surrounding a painting representing their aunt's house in which they liked to meet

. After a few photos representing Le Havre and its seaside, a screen presents the landscape drawings made by Claude Monet in his youth. The family portraits made by the artist are presented in a tight hanging on a wallpaper created for the occasion. The floral pattern evokes late XNUMXth century interiors. This light staging highlights the unofficial but familial character of these often very spontaneous portraits. This section ends with a family tree that will allow the visitor to understand the descent of the two brothers.

The following section presents Léon Monet collector. The works of the artists he has collected are hung in a classic way to underline the seriousness of this collection. The paintings are largely landscapes that give visitors the opportunity to discover the Normandy coast and its ports. This section of landscapes continues with views of Rouen made by artist friends and the brother of Leon Monet. Finally, some works by painters from the School of Rouen, having belonged to Léon Monet, complete the ensemble.

The pigment factory run by Léon Monet is evoked by large photographs of factories and shop windows showing the color samples produced for the textile industry. Part of Léon Monet's collection of Japanese prints is presented next to these samples. Léon Monet admired their brilliant colors obtained thanks to the use of the synthetic colors of aniline which he marketed.

Finally, the exhibition ends in color with Claude Monet's palette and large canvases by the master painted in Giverny


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