14 May 2013

Nymph & Nymphaeas

what a thrill to see in Melbourne, 50 paintings by Monet, the guy we all know for his nymphaea (a.k.a water lilies). He began painting in Paris about 1860 and was accepted by the Paris Salon in 1865.  By 1890 he had purchased Le Pressoir  (a cider pressing house and orchard) west of Paris at Giverny where  he spent 20 years creating his garden, and fighting with the local council to get a permit for his pond. He had a rowboat made as a floating studio and spent the rest of his life recording the changing light on the pond, the bridge and the plants. Most of the works now at NGV usually reside in Paris so do try to see them here - think of the expense you will avoid. Since art is money and the money rests on the provenance, I always want to see the back of famous paintings, so here is a Monet and also his palette with the outer curve sawn off, probably when he
got too much paint on the cuff of the suitcoat he seems to have worn for painting.
The NGV missed the obvious opportunity unique to them, of covering their own ponds 

with waterlilies. Their giftshop was selling rubbery ones for $20.
After the art, the tart.    Nymphette Chloe
 - then with my dear friend and tolerant arty cohort Art Of Pants we had a delicious wine in the  Chloe room at Young and Jacksons, reputedly Melbourne's oldest surviving pub where the painting called 'Chloe' has always been the main attraction.
Painted by a contemporary of Monet, Jules Le Febvre, a medal winner of the 1875 Paris salon, she was purchased in 1880 by a Melbourne surgeon Fitzgerald. Melbourne was shocked when it saw her nudity on loan to the art gallery and she was removed to Dr FitzGeralds house where he hung her so she was visible from the street. Publican Young bought her in 1909. She hangs alone these days, but 'Young' was a big art collector and over 200 paintings, sketches and statues used to be on display throughout the hotel.

Do please click here for the story of how the damn commonwealth bank nearly ruined the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets (the same way they succeeded in ruining what had been a fine historic intersection in Ballarat); and here is a very very old photo of Y and J's before YandJ bought it.