Blockbuster artists van Gogh, Renoir, Monet on view in Philadelphia, NYC and Columbus

“Painted With Words: Vincent van Gogh�s Letters to �mile Bernard,” Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY. through Jan. 6. To complement the letters, more than twenty paintings, drawings, and watercolors by van Gogh and Bernard are on view. These works document their exchange of ideas�among them are paintings and drawings discussed and sketched by van Gogh in his letters to Bernard. Holland Cotter in The NYTimes reports: “Paris, with its buzzy, rivalrous art scene, was hard on van Gogh. At once stimulating and brutalizing, it fired his ambition but left his body and spirits in ruins. When he decided to leave, it was partly from exhaustion, but also from wounded idealism. Shouldn�t a community of artists be based on collaboration rather that competition? Yes, it should, and he would establish such a community elsewhere with the help of like-minded colleagues, Bernard being one, Paul Gauguin another. He would be the pioneer, paving the way for the others. So he headed south alone, keeping in touch with Bernard by mail.” If he were alive today, I bet van Gogh would be a dedicated art blogger. Read more. See slide show of images.

“Renoir Landscapes: 1865-1883,” Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA. Through Jan. 6. The museum calls the paintings remarkable for their freshness and immediacy, and presents these paintings as evidence that nature was a deep source of inspiration for Renoir, who is better known for his figure painting. Roberta Smith reports in the NYTimes: “Pierre-Auguste Renoir may be the last numbingly famous Impressionist painter whose achievements can still be fought over. There are, of course, his sensitive portraits of adults and children; enthralling images of men and women relaxing in the sun-dappled parks of Paris; lush still lifes; sparkling landscapes; and his demure yet voluptuous nudes. But what about his saccharine images of buxom young women and apple-cheeked mothers with children? Or the acres of late nudes whose ponderous staginess looks back to Rubens and forward to Botero? The aspersion ‘kitsch’ has been cast their way.” Read more.

“In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny,” organized by Joe Houston, Dominique H. Vasseur and M. Melissa Wolfe in partnership with the Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris. Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus OH. Through Jan. 20. At Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris, Feb. 12- May 11. The exhibition features a dozen paintings by Monet, and 44 works by American Impressionists and contemporary American artists, some of whom participated in the Giverny residency sponsored by the Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation and the Art Production Fund. In The Columbus Dispatch, Bill Mayr reports: “Monet planted flowers and dug a pond for waterlilies. Other artists, mostly Americans, soon arrived to paint in Giverny….Monet was irked by the influx of artists.” Read more.

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