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Opinion Richard Connor: Wake up and smell the water lilies – don’t miss...

Richard Connor: Wake up and smell the water lilies – don’t miss this exhibit

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Richard Connor
Richard Connor is the owner and CEO/Publisher of DRC Media, the parent company of the Fort Worth Business Press. he also owns newspapers in Virginia. Mr. Connor held a number of corporate media executive positions before founding his own company. He is an award-winning columnist and at one time wrote a weekly column on national politics for CQ Politics, the online version of Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Quarterly.

Creatures of habit, we become comfortable in our city, our surroundings. We follow familiar patterns. We drive the same route to work and then back home. We eat in the same restaurants, shop in the same stores.

We take things for granted.

Too often, our routine becomes a rut and we miss out on treasures that lie nearly beneath our feet but off our beaten path.

Do not miss out on one of the crown jewels of not only Fort Worth but the entire country.

The Kimbell Art Museum is a jewel and a gift to us, allowing us to gaze upon what is always here – its incomparable architecture and superb collection; and also the visiting exhibitions that annually reinforce the Kimbell’s standing as one of the world’s great museums.

Starting this month and running through Sept. 15, we have the priceless opportunity to view Monet: The Late Years, a collection of 52 paintings representing the work of famed impressionist Claude Monet during the final 13 years of his life.

The exhibit at the Kimbell’s Renzo Piano Pavilion features paintings gathered from public and private collections around the world.

The exhibit, which includes more than 20 of Monet’s renowned water-lily paintings, focuses on work done while he suffered the problems of age, most notably failing eyesight, in the years before his death at 86 in 1926.

Ill health did not diminish his talent for detail or his vast imagination. It was in those final years that Monet, who embodied the impressionist movement, is credited with reinventing his style. He is known for his use of light and forms that created his impression of what he saw.

His life was the complex one of an artist, particularly one who broke from the norm and experimented in a new form of painting. He knew scorn, despair, depression, and financial distress. He is thought to have personally destroyed up to 500 of his works that he found unworthy.

Yet, he continued to push and to paint and found new inspiration in the last decade of his life, often arising at 4 a.m. and painting all day until he literally collapsed. Despite age and infirmity, his creative instincts demanded he paint as often and as long as he could.

Monet found most of his beauty in nature and was fascinated by the way the natural world changed, bobbed and weaved, and danced in varying forms as light changed. He did not take his surroundings for granted and, in fact, the inspiration for his water-lily series was found in his backyard pond in Giverny, the village in the Normandy region of France where lived and created many of his greatest works.

One of Monet’s paintings, Mueles, sold at auction in New York last month for $110.7 million. It had been unseen by the public for 78 years. Another of his works, from the water-lily collection, is expected to bring $44.6 million.

We can go to the Kimbell and see his works for less than the price of ticket to a Texas Rangers baseball game. These are the types of things we often overlook but which make Fort Worth unique and great.

Take your children and grandchildren.

If they gain nothing else from the experience they can learn about a man who followed his passion no matter the odds, no matter the critics. He challenged tradition.

They may even find their own inspiration. When my youngest daughter was in fourth grade, she saw a Monet exhibit in Pennsylvania. Having learned to paint at Kinderplatz, the incredible pre-school in Fort Worth, she came home and painted her own version of water-lilies, this one with a small sailboat in it. We framed it and it remains one of our most prized possessions.

We like art and beauty at the Business Press and miss the days when photography was a prized component of printed publications. A few years ago, we decided we should offer our readers a weekly departure from the bleak imagery that clutters and darkens our world in these troubled times. Such departures are not common practice among newspapers today, but we care little about following the pack.

K.P. Wilska and his photos, mostly on Facebook, came to our attention. He is a retired CEO of a Fortune 500, worldwide company and has a fiery passion for photography, a passion he often focuses on nature: birds, trees, flowers, sunrises and sunsets, bodies of water …

He agreed to supply us with at least one photo per week – for free, believe it or not – and we run regularly in the Business Press as our “Parting Shot.” His work makes us feel good and we have a hunch it makes our readers feel good, too. Taking note of Wilska’s photos, longtime subscriber Daniel Roe asked us if he could submit a Parting Shot. We quickly accepted his offer and our latest issue (June 17-23) features his photograph, a captivating image of the arcade entry to the garden at Fort Worth’s First United Methodist Church

K.P.’s contribution accompanies this column in the June 17-23 issue and serves as our own nod to Monet – a water lily photographed by Wilska at a private garden in Trophy Club.

If June turns to September and you have not seen Monet: The Late Years, you might as well live in Abilene. You, your friends, your children may never have another chance to view art this glorious.

Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at rconnor@bizpress.net


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