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Unknown Monet

Monet workNow well-established for 150 years, the artistic canon of Claude Monet is receiving serious reconsideration.

     An exhibition in the middle of the process gets its first United States stop at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute this summer. The unprecedented exhibition challenges the conventional, long-held understanding of Claude Monet's artistic process and life. Titled The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, it opens at The Clark on June 24 and runs through Sept. 16.

     Drawing upon recently discovered documents, the exhibition reveals that Monet relied extensively upon drafting in the development of his paintings, in addition to painting his subjects directly. He long had been seen as an anti-draftsman, having denied the role of drawing in his working method in an effort to advance his image as an Impressionist.

     The Unknown Monet is the first exhibition to focus on the artist's graphic works. It is organized into five sections that chronicle the evolving role of drawing throughout the artist's career:

     -Section One presents the landscapes and caricatures produced by the young artist in Le Havre, showing Monet's early mastery of drawing in the 1850s.

     -Section Two offers the first significant concentration of Monet's pastels to be exhibited together since the first Impressionistic exhibition in 1874.

     -Eight of Monet's sketchbooks survive intact, all in the collection of the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris. Section Three presents four of these sketchbooks, along with interactive computer kiosks that allow visitors unprecedented access to individual pages until now virtually unknown outside scholarly circles.

     -Section Four documents Monet's engagement with drawing for the mass media and the appearance of his paintings in print form during his lifetime.

     -Section Five explores the relationship between sketchbook drawings and Monet's later series paintings, including The Clark's Rouen Cathedral, Façade (1894).