The exhibit Monet: The Late Years, opened on June 16 at the Kimbell Art Museum. Within it is a special work that, though not Monet’s, will highlight one particular piece within the collection.
Through a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project, the museum was able to acquire a 17th-century giltwood frame for Claude Monet’s Weeping Willow, which is the inspiration for the new internationally acclaimed special exhibition.
“We know Monet cared about the frames that went on his paintings he’s careful to tell his dealers he wants them back but he doesn’t say much directly,” Kimbell Deputy Director George T. M. Shackelford, curator of the exhibit, said. “From the frames that we know to be original, we can discern his preference for traditional moldings used in innovative ways and his tendency to choose a profile that was relatively narrow.”
While frames are often overlooked, they serve to not only protect the work within, but to also facilitate its presentation in the setting where it is displayed. Over the years, new frame styles have evolved in accordance with the taste and décor of the era, and original frames are often discarded for those in keeping with modernized interiors.
Weeping Willow was originally acquired by the Kimbell Art Foundation for museum in 1996 from the collection of David Rockefeller. Upon its debut at the Kimbell, it quickly became a visitor favorite and has maintained its popularity among the museum’s celebrated collection of masterpieces.
Weeping Willow concludes the exhibition as a prime example of the artist’s late painting technique, along with four other Weeping Willow paintings in the artist’s series. Monet had painted 10 Weeping Willow paintings by 1919, apparently in mournful response to the mass tragedy of World War I.
After an extensive search in New York, London and Paris, the Kimbell purchased an antique frame from Arnold Wiggins & Sons of London.
The Louis XIII–period carved and gilded oak frame, made about 1680, features a subtle and elegant design of acorn and oak leaf clusters with flower heads at the centers. Leaf-and-pin and ribbon-twist ornament makes up the inner edge or “sight molding,” while the back edge is decorated with half flower heads.
“The arts play a critical role in creating a vibrant economy here in North Texas. They also educate and enrich our lives by creating greater cultural understanding,” said Mike Pavell, Fort Worth market president for Bank of America.
“Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project is part of our broader commitment to responsible growth by bringing value to economies, society and the communities we serve through conservation of historically or culturally significant works of art, including those that have been designated as cultural treasures,” Pavell said.
The newly framed painting made its debut at the Kimbell on June 16, along with the special exhibition that features more than 50 celebrated Monet paintings.
“The Kimbell was founded with conservation as one of its guiding principles,” Kimbell Director Eric M. Lee said. “We are grateful to Bank of America for their generous gift and their ongoing efforts to preserve and study the artistic achievements in our country’s art collections.”
Weeping Willow, along with Monet’s early masterpiece, La Pointe de la Hève at Low Tide, inspired a pair of blockbuster exhibitions Monet: The Early Years, presented in 2016, and this year’s Monet: The Late Years. The new exhibit takes up the story of Monet’s art at the very end of his career, up to his death in 1926.
The Bank of America Art Conservation Project provides grant funding to nonprofit cultural institutions throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of deterioration.
Since it began in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants for more than 150 projects in 31 countries on six continents to conserve paintings, sculptures, archaeological and architectural pieces that are critically important to cultural heritage and the history of art.
Additional works in the U.S. benefiting from recent grants include a 12-panel screen with Spring Morning in the Han Palaces scene and inscription, Freer|Sackler, Washington, D.C.; The Large Bathers by Paul Cézanne, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia; Pan American Unity by Diego Rivera, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and conservation of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s collection of photographs by the Kamoinge Workshop, Richmond, Virginia.
Monet: The Late Years
June 16—Sept. 15
Renzo Piano Pavilion
Curated by George T. M. Shackelford, deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum.
Monet: The Late Years is the first exhibition in more than 20 years dedicated to the final phase of Monet’s career. Through approximately 60 paintings, the exhibition traces the evolution of Monet’s practice from 1913, when he embarked on a reinvention of his painting style that led to increasingly bold and abstract works, up to his death in 1926.
Assembled from major public and private collections in Europe, the United States and Asia, including holdings from the Kimbell Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Monet: The Late Years includes more than 20 examples of Monet’s water-lily paintings
This exhibition is organized by the Kimbell Art Museum and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with the collaboration of the Marmottan Monet Museum, Paris.
Exhibit admission: $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students.
The Kimbell offers $3 special exhibition admission for Texas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who present their Lone Star Card at the box office.