Mystical Landscapes by Monet, van Gogh and Munch united Paris and Toronto
The exhibition to be opened at the Musée d’Orsay in March 2017 explores the mystical experiences of 36 artists from 15 countries. Among them are Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keeffe and James McNeill Whistler. The exhibition has just been closed in Toronto, so the main "highlights" are already known. However, the Paris show will additionally include about 16 works.
The years between 1880 and 1930 were marked by rampant materialism and rapid urbanization. Disillusioned with traditional religious institutions, many European, Scandinavian and North American artists searched for an unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences.
After its ending at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in January 2017, the exhibition will be opened at d’Orsay in Paris in March 2017.
In the West, since the Renaissance, the landscape has been recognised as a genre that can give expression to inner feelings through form — a genre that conveys immediate spiritual experiences that cannot be put into words, yet is based on the representation of a natural environment that is stable, measurable and familiar.
The exhibition "Mystical Landscapes" is a dialogue between secular, Catholic and Protestant mystical traditions, includs the relationship to the natural world before and after the cataclysm of the First World War.
Left: Georgia O’Keeffe, "Series I — From the Plains" (1919). The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
The exhibits, collected from all over Europe, Scandinavia and North America, include close to 90 paintings and 20 works on paper, many of which seldom leave their "home" museum. One of the major paintings in the exhibition is Vincent van Gogh’s "Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles" (1888), which prompted him to write about feeling "a tremendous need of —shall I say the word—religion…so I go outside at night to paint the stars".
"Finished in Arles in 1888 just two years before his death, the painting glistens with such freshness you’d swear van Gogh had painted it only last week", — writes art critic James Adams in the Canadian newspaper "The Globe and Mail".
The list of the other "headliners" of the exhibition includes Paul Gauguin’s vivid "Vision of the Sermon, or Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" from 1888, painted during his stay in Brittany.
There are also Claude Monet’s "Water Lilies (Nymphéas)", 1907, which he painted after hours of Zen-like meditation beside his Japanese water garden; "The Sun" by Edvard Munch, created during his well-publicized nervous breakdown between 1910−1913; the painting of Georgia O’Keeffe’s "Series I — from the Plains" (1919), which shows the terrifying power of an approaching thunderstorm in Texas and so on.
Left: Claude Monet, "Water Lilies" (1907). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Yet, for all these "celebrities," one of the exhibition’s greatest strengths is the attention it accords lesser-known artists. They include: Charles Marie Dulac, a French Franciscan monk, presented by a series of deeply calming lithographs and a handful of equally contemplative paintings; Fernand Khnopff, a reclusive Belgian Catholic, painted unpeopled scenes of great stillness; William Degouve de Nuncques, another Belgian, whose "The Pool of Blood" (1894), is one concentrated nightmare of a painting.
Above: the lithographs by Charles-Marie Dulac at exhibition "Mystic landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more". Photo: Loulou Downtown
However, for most, the real discovery is likely going to be Sweden’s Eugène Jansson (1862−1915). He’s represented by four large, fin-de-siècle works in Mystical Landscapes, three of which are absolute knockouts, equal, almost, to the best paintings of Van Gogh, Munch and Whistler.
The paintings for the exhibition titled "Mystic landscapes" were sent by Tate Britain; National Galleries of Canada, Scotland, Czech Republic, Sweden; The Munch Museum, Oslo; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, New York and many other institutions worldwide.
All of the paintings are grouped into several themes, including "Life and Mysticism", "Monet and spiritual enlightenment", "Landscape and the dark night of the soul" and also "Space and mystical experience."
The exhibition titled "Beyond Stars: The Mystical from Monet to Kandinsky" will be open at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris from 14 March to 25 June of 2017 showing the viewers about 16 works that did not "travel" to Canada
Based on materials of Art Gallery of Ontario, The Musée d’Orsay and The Globe and Mail newspaper.