Credit: Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil, 1875 (oil on canvas), Monet, Claude (1840-1926) / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Going to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art can be a frustrating experience. While the works on display are often excellent and it is one of the only places to see fine art in the city, the cost of admission, even at the local’s price of $12, is pretty steep for such a small space and can discourage you from going. The place often makes you leave wanting more, or at least to have paid a little less.
However, when shows are curated well, they can make your forget the small space and use the limited number of works on display to tell a clear, focused narrative that can be illuminating to art history neophytes and dabblers like myself. The current show, “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light” is a perfect example of this, using its 28 pieces, 20 by Monet and 8 by his predecessors and contemporaries, to show how Monet and the Impressionists developed, moving away from traditional styles of painting and becoming more and more fascinated by the use and manipulation of light and color.
Moving through the chronologically arranged gallery, you can see how Monet went from painting traditional landscapes to masterpieces like the color-splashed “Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist’s Garden in Argenteui” or “Grainstack at Sunset”, this exhibition’s representative of his famous “Grainstack” paintings in which he took his fascination with color and light to its extreme.
Also helping me understand this narrative was that fact that, for the first time, I took in one of the complimentary docent tours that are offered everyday at 2:00. A bright, very friendly UNLV art history student guided us through the gallery and put up with our tour group (many of whom came straight out of the “Obnoxious Vegas Tourist” summer catalog) with incredible graciousness and patience.
This is a show that is worth your $12, so escape the heat one afternoon and take in the show and the docent tour if you can. It is a great way to spend an air-conditioned summer afternoon.
ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Art and culture since 2009.