Recommended: The Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts

Charing Cross Bridge Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts
Charing Cross Bridge (overcast day) (1990). I thought this resembled the Harvard Bridge and Charles River at sunset.

If you’re in Boston any time from now to end Feb 2021, the ‘Monet and Boston’ exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit. The premise of this exhibition is that while Monet never visited Boston, many Bostonians were big supporters of his work while he was alive and visited him at his residence in France. They brought back many of his paintings, which were gifted to the museum in later years. Today, there are 35 oil paintings by Monet on showcase at this exhibition. Here’s why you should visit the Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts.

boston museum of fine arts
At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts – greeted by Canadian Geese (and their poop). 

The Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts

I liked this exhibition because it provided some context to how Monet had impacted the art scene in Boston, despite not having visited at all. During Monet’s lifetime, many of his works were found in both Bostonian art galleries as well as collector’s homes.

monet and boston mfa
The Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts – check out the description if you would like to know more.

Ticketing

The ticket is a US$5 extra from the normal ticket price of US$25, which is extremely worth it in my opinion. Do make a reservation before heading over – this exhibition tends to be extremely popular, especially during the weekends.

Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts
The exhibition area was pretty crowded for a weekday.
 Rue de la Bavole, Honfleur 1864
Rue de la Bavole, Honfleur [1864]. This was an earlier piece by Monet.
Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts
Monet was influenced by Japonisme too. This piece was in the Japonisme section – unfortunately I failed to note down it’s name and couldn’t find it on Google. If you do know the name of this painting, please let me know!
The Water Lily Pond monet and boston mfa
The Water Lily Pond [1900] I have seen some iterations of this piece other museums too.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

Valley of the Petite Creuse Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts
Valley of the Petite Creuse (1889). Some of the scenes reminded me of hikes that I’ve taken around Boston. This is one of them!

Entrance to the Village of Vétheuil in Winter [1879]
Entrance to the Village of Vétheuil in Winter [1879] I can see some semblance of this in New England.
I enjoyed the delicate nature of Monet’s paintings and how he made a scene of nature come alive. I could actually relate many of the scenes in his paintings to my experiences in Boston – from going on hikes (like the one I did to Middlesex Fells Reservation), to catching the Harvard Bridge and Charles River in sunset. Definitely agree with the museum’s description that Monet found beauty in the mundane. I thought he was especially good at conveying emotion through his art pieces.

monet sunset on the sea 1882
Sunset on the Sea, Pourville [1882]

In comparison to paintings by Van Gogh

postman joseph roulin boston mfa van gogh
Postman Joseph Roulin [1888] – love this picture! It’s from a scene in Loving Vincent.
After exiting the exhibition, I found that the main gallery of the MFA also carried a few Van Gogh pieces. It was then occurred to me that while Monet and Van Gogh lived during the same time period, their styles were completely different. Friend S rightly pointed out that Monet was a more stable soul, possibly due to the recognition he had received during his lifetime. In comparison, I would say that Van Gogh’s paintings were interesting, but less approachable. From the perspective of art collectors at that time, I would hesitate to purchase a Van Gogh for my home as they’re harder to understand. I also thought that Van Gogh painted for himself (and didn’t really care about what his customers wanted), so the objects that he selected, such as the postman or the postman’s wife portrait could be construed as ‘random’ for art collectors at that point in time.

Ravine [1889] by Van Gogh boston mfa
Ravine [1889] by Van Gogh – I would say such pieces of work are harder to appreciate, especially back then.
Houses at Auvers 1890 van gogh Bsoton mfa
Houses at Auvers [1890] by Van Gogh

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The Monet and Boston exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts

  • Exhibition dates: November 15, 2020 through February 28, 2021
  • Do reserve your tickets in advance at https://www.mfa.org/tickets
  • Address: Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
  • Opening hours: 10am – 5pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Phone number: 617-267-9300
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