Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Claude Monet ~ Waterlilies and Andy Warhol ~ Flowers

These two images are part of one of Andy Warhol's very successful series using the flower motif. The Flowers series in 1964 was based on a photograph of hibiscus flower blossoms. Warhol saturated the large images of the flowers with intense color and put them on a verdant background. They really do seem to float off the canvas much like Monet's treatment of lilies in his pond. Warhol deeply admired Monet's waterlilies spending much time with them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

So in addition to leaving the artists of the next generations the legacy of rich, varied color, Monet also introduced the 20th century art world to the concept of the series - "a systematic approach to the the subject of art and to pictorial means." His many studies of light and haystacks, cathedrals and waterlilies were the precursors to the many varied uses of a series. Some artists may present images in series so that all things are different, for others, the images are increasingly similar. Monet's Legacy Series - Order and Obsession in Hamburg in 2001 explored the connection between Monet and artists of the twentieth century. It's catalogue was intended to:
investigate the historical and cultural backgrounds against which artists began to work in series. Factors such as the advent of industrial mass production and the accompanying development of reproductive techniques will be taken into consideration, as will philosophical issues such as the notion of the whole and its parts, the individual and the collective, perception, space, movement and time.

Warhol is quoted in Monet and Modernism, another exhibition during 2002 as having said...
Most artists repeat themselves all their lives. Isn't life a repetition of the same things happening all the time? I just like doing the same thing over and over again. It's one way of expressing yourself! All of my motifs are always identical but also very different. They change wit the luminosity (of the color), with time, and with the atmosphere. Isn't life a series of motifs that change while they go on repeatin themselves?
If you listen carefully, you'll probably hear Claude Monet agreeing with those last two sentences.

Unfortunately Claude Monet's Waterlilies is the only waterlily painting owned by the Portland Art Museum. So to see a series of them in person, you'll have to travel to New York and visit the Museum of Modern Art and see all three of theirs. Or you can do a search on Google.

Voice from the Couch sat down with Monet and Modernism last night and had this to say...
"Hmmm... Warhol was born in 1928 and died in 1987.
You have to include this portrait. Those eyes in the negative will stay with you all next year."

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