Two Monet Exhibits Share the World of Impressionism

The man of the hour is Claude Monet. With an immersive show in Indianapolis at the LUME at Newfields and two of his works, including one of his esteemed water lily paintings, Nymphéas, on display at the Speed Art Museum, Claude Monet is having yet another moment in the spotlight. 

Here’s the basics for the two exhibits:

About the Speed Painting and a little about Monet (from the release):

Nymphéas, one of Claude Monet’s celebrated water lily paintings, has made its debut at the Speed Art Museum. The new display is an opportunity to share one of the earliest versions of Monet’s famed and favored waterlily subjects. In 1883, Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) moved his family to the small town of Giverny, France, just northwest of Paris, where he set about building a lavish waterlily pond and surrounding gardens in 1893. The project would preoccupy the artist for the next 30 years, creating an endless and inspired source of subject matter for hundreds of artworks. Finished in 1897, Nymphéas is among Monet’s very first paintings of the completed pond.

See Nymphéas at the Speed Art Museum.

“We’re delighted to showcase this important painting for our visitors,” said Erika Holmquist-Wall, the Speed’s Chief Curator and Curator of European and American Painting and Sculpture in a release. “The exhibition is designed to be an invitation to slow down, remain in a moment, and take a closer look.”

On temporary loan from an anonymous collection, the oil painting is now prominently displayed alongside the Speed’s recently restored Monet painting, The Church at Varengeville-sur-Mer, Grey Weather, painted in 1882 during one of the artist’s trips to the northern coast of France. That painting recently underwent a yearlong conservation treatment as part of the Speed Art Museum’s Adopt-an-Artwork program. 

About the LUME’s Monet and Friends Alive exhibit (from the website):

“After a blockbuster inaugural year of Vincent van Gogh, THE LUME Indianapolis will reopen featuring Monet & Friends Alive on July 3. The one-of-a-kind Monet & Friends Alive experience, created by Australian-based Grande Experiences, will take guests on a journey back in time to when the face of European art was set to change forever. The exhibition will showcase the world of Impressionism across three main movements: Metropolitan, A Day in the Life and En Plein Air. The masterpieces of the Impressionists will come to life with a rich, dynamic display of light, color, and sound. Breathtaking paintings will be projected on an enormous scale with vivid detail to bring back, larger than life, the bold brushstrokes of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, and more. Guests will indulge their senses and enjoy the sights of 19th Century Paris through the eyes of the painters who immortalized them. The final gallery will feature original paintings, drawings, and sculptures from notable Impressionists including Cassatt, Cézanne, Manet, Monet, Degas, and more. Set to a beautiful musical score including Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and Offenbach, Monet & Friends Alive is an immersive experience that stimulates all the senses.”

“After soaring success in its inaugural year, THE LUME Indianapolis featuring Monet & Friends Alive will undoubtedly be a memorable experience for guests of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning more about impressionism, or those who are experiencing a museum for the very first time,” said Jonathan Berger, Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs at Newfields in a release. “We are also thrilled to be able to offer local talent an opportunity to be a part of the final experience and showcase their work in a world class museum. We’re excited to see how this year’s Monet Alive show will impact those in our community, the Midwest and nationwide. Newfields was transformed by last year’s Van Gogh show, so this year we’re continuing to look for ways to add new surprises, educate our visitors and welcome new faces to the museum.”

My Experience with Monet at the LUME:

I have yet to visit the Speed’s Monet, but I did get the chance to visit the LUME, and much like the Van Gogh exhibit from last year, the LUME provides an immersive experience that includes the 30,000 sq. ft. theater showing the works of Monet in grand scale. The theater includes the projections done with over 120 projectors, scents of florals and perfumes that one might have experienced in the streets of paris, and music by Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Revel and Offenbach. 

The beautiful Lumen Tonic (non-alcoholic version) from the Lumiere Cafe at the Monet and Friends Alive exhibit.

As we moved through the space, with children mind you, everyone was invited to sit on the floor, lean into the artworks on the walls, all of the things we’re told not to do in the regular halls of a museum. In the middle of the exhibit is a cafe and the drinks and food, we could take with us through the rest of the exhibit. Yes, even the kids could carry their drinks and food with them through the exhibit. It is a freeing experience for parents worried that their child will ruin a multi-million dollar work of art.

The Lumiere cafe that sits in the middle of the exhibit is an oasis with restrooms, food and drink service that includes fare themed with the show. Hint: the star of the drink menu is the LUMEN Tonic. A vodka tonic with citrus and elderflower. The joy of watching the Elderflowers bloom from ice cubes as one sips the drink is something that needs to be experienced.

In addition to the LUME theater exhibit, other original works of impressionists including Monet are on exhibit within the tour. Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge. include Landscape at Auvers, Farm Entrance on the Rue St. Remy by Paul Cezanne, Bouquet in a Vase by Pierre Renoir, and Landscape by Camille Pissarro.

The tour of the Monet exhibits ends with a replica of his painting “The Waterlily Pond” where the audience is invited into the frame to walk across the bridge, take photos and become part of the artwork. 

As you pass through the gift shop to the rest of the museum, get some of the lovely french soaps. The smells are heavenly. I came home with lavender. 

A visit to the LUME is a reason to leave all of the stress at the door and allow yourself those moments to just enjoy where you are, what you see, smell and taste. Let the rest fall away.  

While visiting Indianapolis for the LUME book a stay at Hotel Indy with its brutalist charms or my personal favorite, Bottleworks Hotel located in very close proximity to my favorite place to eat in Indy, The Garage Food Hall. Indianapolis is a town in flux and there are so many fun spots to shop or eat (especially near Bottleworks).

Enter the Frame at the LUME’s Monet and Friends Alive exhibit.

I’m sure I’ve convinced you to travel to Indianapolis for the Lume Exhibit, but before you go, stop by the Speed to see their Monet works. Nymphéas was a work that Monet loved in particular and this is a rare opportunity to view the work. If you’re a Speed Member, you have reciprocity at Newfields, which means you get discounts at the show and the gift shops. For ticket information visit the Speed Museum Website Here and the Newfields website Here.

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