MFAH Lecture: "Monet at Vétheuil and Lavacourt: Crisis and Memory"
Claude Monet painted more than 180 landscapes in and around the small town of Vétheuil and the nearby village of Lavacourt between mid-1878 and late 1881. His productivity was so great that he surely worked almost in a frenzy during those years, leaving the confines of his small rented home as often as he could to confront the varied landscapes around it.
In addition, Monet painted more than 20 still-life paintings and 11 portraits, which, when combined with the seascapes he made in those years on brief trips to Étretat, Fécamp and Trouville (at least 29 paintings), make these years among the most productive in the career of this famously prolific painter.
Some scholars interpret Monet's devolution during these years, from pleasant paintings of plein air landscapes and figures engaged in leisure activities to a new kind of aggressively painted landscape, as a "crisis of Impressionism." But the "crisis" Monet experienced was instead a personal and financial one, as his career virtually collapsed and his wife — the mother of his two sons — died. When Monet returned to Vétheuil 20 years later, the paintings he created were as much a product of his memory as his eye, his way of saying goodbye to the town and that chapter of his life.
A reception to meet the speaker follows the lecture. Presented by Richard Brettell, the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetics, University of Texas at Dallas.