This weekend marks the birthdays of two favorite artists in the BMA collection, who are also two favorite artists throughout the history of art. Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840, and Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887.
Monet, known as the father of French Impressionism, dedicated his life to documenting the French countryside. He painted many settings more than once to capture the difference in light, seasons, and colors of a place. One of these settings was Pourville, a fishing town located in Northern France near the harbor city Dieppe. Monet settled in Pourville in February of 1882; he loved the area, writing in a letter “How beautiful the countryside is becoming, and what a joy it would be for me to show you all its delightful nooks and crannies!” Monet has done just that in his series of Pourville paintings, capturing the lighting of the beach in various seasons and times of day. The piece in the Museum collection, Le Matin, temps brumeaux, depicts a foggy morning in Pourville. The muted colors and serene setting capture that foggy morning, and we can see why Monet was so fond of this quiet beach town. (Sources: Wikipedia & Art Institute of Chicago)
O’Keeffe, best known for her flower pictures and striking desert landscapes, has a different, yet beautiful example of her early work in the Museum’s collection. The piece, The Green Apple, is the most significant early modern painting in the Museum’s American art collection. The Green Apple, painted in 1922, is from early in her painting career, where she devoted herself to Precisionism, an artistic movement that sought to exploit and capture the inherent geometry in natural and man-made things, reducing them to their basic forms. In a 1922 article in the New York Sun, O’Keeffe declared, “It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.” In this simple but elegant still life, she has reduced both apple and plate to their essence, bringing the two objects into a harmonious balance. (Source: BMA’s Guide to the Collection)
Celebrate these two beloved artists with a visit to the Museum on their birthday weekend! Share your experience with the art on our social media channels (tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), and let us know what you think. Which artist and which piece do you prefer? And why? We look forward to seeing you in the galleries soon.