Birth of Impressionism and the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris

www.kimminichiello.comImpression:Sunrise, Oil in Canvas, Claude Monet, 1872, Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

Ahhhh April in Paris!  What a better month to hold an art exhibition. On this day exactly one hundred and forty years ago was an exhibition that changed the art world forever.

On April 15, 1874 a small group of artists put together a small independent art show to buck the establishment of academic painters and salons.  This exhibition led by artists Claude Monet featured other works by, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot.  They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptures, etc.

It wasn’t until  french art critique Louis Leroy entitled his nasty, scathing critique in a french newspaper, “Exhibition of Impressionists”  for which one particular painting by Claude Monet inspired this title, that the group would eventually be coined the “Impressionists.”   It was his, Impression: Sunrise.

When I lived in Paris I was so fortunate to see this painting many times as well as other works by Monet, Renoir and Morisot at the Musée Mormottan Monet, which is in the 16th arrondissement only a few blocks from where I lived.  Originally a hunting lodge on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, it is a gem of a museum.  It has been bequeathed with many beautiful works of art over the years, most notably in 1966, Michel Monet’s collection of works inherited from his father.

What I love about Monet’s  collection here is there are works that seem to be works in progress and those that were  done during his later years when he was afflicted with cataracts.  With these one can get a sense of his painting process. And the color palette from the cataract years is much warmer with golds and yellows,  not typically Monet but are gorgeous.

It wasn’t until the third exhibition by these plus other independent artists that they gave in and officially called them selves “Impressionists.”

Today on the birthday of this major art movement I wanted to pay homage to the “Artists Independent” who later became known as “Impressionists,”  the painting that coined the term, and the Museum where it currently residues!

A side note, Impression: Sunrise was stolen from the Musée Marmottan Monet in 1985, recovered in 1990 and has been back on display since 1991.

These are the artists that participated in the first Impressionist Exhibition:

• Zacharie Astruc

• Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu

• Édouard Béliard

• Eugène Boudin

• Félix Braquemond

• Édouard Brandon

• Pierre-Isidore Bureau

• Adolphe-Félix Cals

• Paul Cézanne

• Gustave Colin

• Louis Debras

• Edgar Degas

• Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin

• Louis LaTouche

• Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic

• Stanislas Lepine

• Jean-Baptiste-Léopold Levert

• Alfred Meyer

• Auguste De Molins

• Claude Monet

• Mademoiselle Berthe Morisot

• Mulot-Durivage

• Joseph DeNittis

• Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin

• Léon-Auguste Ottin

• Camille Pissarro

• Pierre-Auguste Renoir

• Stanislas-Henri Rouart

• Léopold Robert


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The Triptych by Dustin Yellin at the SCAD Museum of Art

www.kimminichiello.comThe Triptych by Dustin Yellin, 2012, glass, acrylic, collage,  46.5″ x 208″ x 27″

I was in Savannah Georgia last weekend and every time I go, I always visit the SCAD Museum of Art.   SCAD is the acronym for Savannah College of Art and Design.  There are also campuses in in Atlanta, Hong Kong and France.  The college is integrated into the historical town of Savannah with most buildings having been renovated or repurposed for classroom facilities, dorms, student centers and most notably the Museum of Art.  The university’s commitment to historic preservation and adaptive use is most evident in this facility.  The oldest part of the building dates to 1853 and was once part of the oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot in the country.  In 2011 with an addition designed my architect Christian Sottile, a SCAD alumnus and dean the School of Building Arts, it has been transformed into a premier contemporary art facility, mounting an exhibition each academic quarter.


www.kimminichiello.comThe back side and shadow projections on wall

One exhibit that is currently showing absolutely blew me away.  I have never seen anything like it and felt compelled to share.  The piece is by artist, Dustin Yellin, titled The Triptych, 2012, glass, collage, acrylic, measuring 46.5” x 208” x 27”.  Yellin lives in Brooklyn, NY and is best known for his sculptural painting.  Multiple glass layers are individually embellished then combined to create an intricate three dimensional collage.  The Triptych is his largest most complex work to date.  It weighs twelve tons and is comprised of three panels, of roughly 58 panels of glass each.  It is a three dimensional viewing experience.  Walking in the dimly lit room on closer inspection the glowing mass, depicts a surreal mythical spectacle embodying Yellin’s vision of the world and consciousness.

Side view showing layering of glass panels

This is one of those pieces that you could never take in with one viewing and I wish I could have the chance to see it again.  Layer upon layer of images, mostly antique found images and others that may have been created by Yellin, collaged together on each panel of glass.  There are also appears to be areas articulated with ink and or paint.   When the panels are sandwiched together the images come to life in a three dimensional manner, that harken back to what could be a glorified View Master view or multi-plane animation effort.

Details of first panel

Not only is the work so intriguing to look at and study, but I couldn’t help wondering, as I usually always do, about the logistics of creating such a monumental piece.  If you live near Savannah or are visiting,  this is worth seeing.

Detail of third panel

Next week I’ll share another intriguing art installation in Savannah.

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Happy Birthday to…. My Blog and a Giclée Print Giveaway

www.kimminichiello.comPoppies, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 11″ x 15″

A Giclée print of this painting can be yours!  Please enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on this blog post.

I honestly can’t believe it has been one year since I started my blog!  Where has the time gone? After many years of toying with the idea of starting a blog, I finally went for it a year ago this week.  I first discovered art blogs, that were mostly part of the daily painters movement right after I moved to Hong Kong in 2007.  Many artists I followed then are still blogging today, Belinda Del Pesco, Carol Marine, Karen Jurick, Katherine Tyrrell’s, Making a Mark, and Laura Frankstone of Laurelines to name a few.  I guess I was what you call a lurker, I didn’t comment very much but I was so grateful for that time with my morning tea to read what other artist were doing, and feel a connection to the US, living so far from home.  At that time Facebook wasn’t nearly what it is today, therefore following blogs was the only way to make connections with other artists.

One day while searching through blog roles, pre Facebook, I found a former Walt Disney Imagineering colleague, Marcelo Vignali and connected with him.  He told me, “You have to do a blog, it’s great! It’s a great chance to connect with and meet people.”  I’m somewhat of a shy private person, so it took me a while to finally relent and put myself out on the blogoshere. I told myself if I were to do one, I would commit to it and at least do one post a week and I’m happy to say I’ve fallen in somewhat of a routine of doing two when I can.  I didn’t want it to be a big pressure, so I post what ever I’m in the mood to show or say, with the general idea of featuring my work, talk about some of the processes, impart knowledge that will help other artists, and give those who like my work a chance to get to know me better.   I love movies, books, travel, museums, and to talk about artists whom I find inspiring. I’ve enjoyed the past year sharing my watercolor sketches from my travels.  So far that’s been the direction of my blog, but who knows what else is lurking around the corner.  As long as I enjoy doing the blog and there are people who enjoy reading it I will do it.

Now Facebook seems to be more prevalent than blogging.  Is blogging becoming a dying art?  I hope not.  I’d like to think there are still those that like to read and enjoy what other artists have to say rather than quickly scrolling through the news feed on Facebook.

I hope all that are following me on this blogging journey have enjoyed what I have shown and shared. It’s hard to really know how much of a following there is, but like many things, it takes time to incubate and grow!  If you know of others you feel would enjoy it please pass on the link!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog, I am giving away a giclée print of my painting Poppies.  All you have to do is leave a comment on today’s post and you will be eligible!  I recently received in the mail a lovely giclée print from blogging friend, Julie Ford Oliver, from a giveaway she did recently to start off the new year!  I may follow her lead and let my husband, who is also a designer and artist, choose the winner from the comments, or do a random drawing.

A sincere thank you to all and hope you continue to enjoy and find some inspiration visiting my blog!!

Limited Edition Prints & Note cards available here.


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Today is for The Birds and Good Fortune

Nest by Julie Ford OliverNest & Feather, oil, 6 x 6, by Julie Ford Oliver

photo via Julie’s blog

I have been an admirer of fellow artist Julie Ford Oliver’s work for a while now.  Although we have never met in person, we are friends in the blog-o-sphere and on Facebook.  Recently she had a giveaway on her blog for one of her small original oils of a beautiful bird’s nest and feather.  Last year she had show featuring many wonderful  works in oils and watercolor with a birds nest theme. I wish I could have seen it in person.  Although, I didn’t win the original painting, I found out today that I did win a giclée print!  I’m so thrilled and can’t wait to receive it.


www.kimminichiello.comOwl in my neighbor’s tree

I had a giveaway in December to thank all of my email and newsletter subscribers,  for any giclée print on my web site.  The winner for my giveaway happened to be one of my neighbors.  As I was delivering her print today, I heard the family of owls, living in my neighborhood,  communicating with each other. I usually only hear them at night.  The owl happened to be in the tree directly above where I was walking.  It is always a treat to see these beautiful creatures, especially in the day time!

So today seems to be about good fortune, birds and giclée prints.  The start of the new year has brought me many good fortunes so far. Right after the new year, I found out that two of my paintings, Lotus Nocturne and Bananas on Japanese Box had been juried in to the Third Annual Women Painters of the Southeast Exhibition. Last week, I was the lucky recipient of a drawing for a demo painting from friend and  Florida artist Dana Daydodge, at the Central Florida Watercolor Society meeting.  A day later I got an e-mail that I had won a free chair massage at our local Whole Foods!  Hmmmmm maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket!



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John Singer Sargent Watercolors at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston

From 1902 to 1911 John Singer Sargent painted a significant collection of watercolor paintings traveling to varied destinations with friends and family painting plein air.   He was getting tired of the rigors of his large commissioned portrait work and he saw these travels as a chance to get away and paint purely for himself and for the enjoyment of painting. He did paint oils on these journeys, however, his medium of choice was watercolor. He never intended to sell or exhibit these works.  However, Edward Darley Boit, kept convincing him otherwise, he finally relented under the condition that they not be sold piece meal and he would prefer that the whole collection be purchased by an Eastern Museum or collector.  Boit and Sargent had a long friendship and it is Sargent’s portrait of his daughters, The Daughters of Edward Darly Boit, at the MFA Boston, that was one of his major triumphs.  Boit, an accomplished watercolorist as well, had the idea for a combined showing of both of their works, and in 1909 the show opened at the Knoedler & Company Gallery in New York.

Villa di Marlia, Lucca: A Fountain

The Brooklyn Museum wasted no time to purchase the entire collection from the exhibit. The Boston Museum of Fine Art was a day late and a dollar short when they realized all the paintings had been purchased by Brooklyn.  They put dibs on all of the paintings he would create three years after for the second exhibition site unseen.  Therefore, these two institutions own the largest collection of his watercolor works and they organized an exhibition that started at the Brooklyn Museum last summer and is currently in Boston until January 20, 2014.

A Tramp

Living and traveling in Europe for a number of years, I have had the fortunate opportunity to see some amazing painting exhibitions.  This one ranks up there as one of the best.  The show was extremely well curated with works grouped by the different regions where he traveled and painted, Venice, the Middle East, the Swiss Alps, Italy, Portugal and Greece, with a combination of landscapes and intimate portraits of friends, family and people of these regions. Landscapes tended to be more intimate and focused on less traditional view points and more on details instead of broad sweeping vistas.

Simplon Pass: Crags

He had complete command of this medium but one gets the sense that he his painting in watercolor like one would in oils with broad sweeping brush stokes, in a loose quick style, still preserving the whites of the paper for highlights, or using wax as one would masking fluid to preserve areas of lighter color before laying down darker washes. He also utilized quite al lot of gauche or body color mixing it with the transparent watercolor, and even laying it on in a think impasto style for highlights and texture. I also love the fact that most all of the works have visible pencil lines that you could study and see his drawing underneath and sometimes on top of the paint. His draftsmanship was more evident in the architectural works of Venice.

White Ships

I saw the exhibit twice on two consecutive days. The first day taking it all in, studying the paintings up close to analyze his various techniques. The second day I studied them more at a distance and was amazed at the glow, luminosity, how truly Impressionistic they were with his loose washes and painterly style.

Kim Minichiello

The Cashmere Shawl 

Robert Genn, of the Painters Keys, once wrote a letter about the Stendahl Syndrome.  Link to his article here.  It is the condition of being extremely overwhelmed by the beauty of art or nature.  I can honestly say I felt it at this exhibition.  I had a hard time walking out the exit, and feel honored and grateful to have experienced this master’s work in watercolor.


P.S. On a sad note… Robert Genn who is such an inspiration to many artists with his Twice Weekly Letters, and founder of the Painter’s Keys web site.  Sent a letter out last week titled “The Bomb.”  He revealed he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Even revealing this news, he is uplifting and inspirational.  My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

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Artists That Inspire: R. Tom Gilleon

R. Tom GilleonShadow of the Sixth, oil, by R. Tom Gilleon, in private collection (image via C.M Russell Museum web site)

I have been wanting to do a new feature category on my blog, “Artists That Inspire.”  When I lived in Paris, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit many museums and special exhibits in France and throughout Europe.  I’ve been wanting to share some of those experiences as well as feature artists whose work I admire and inspire me that are working today.  So without further adieu…. today I am featuring a good friend R. Tom Gilleon.

I know Tom through working at Disney.  Tom was born in Florida, his grandmother was a full blood Cherokee Indian.  After playing baseball on a scholarship with the University of Florida and putting his dreams of becoming a professional base ball player aside, he worked as an illustrator for NASA’s Apollo Space Program.  Later he want freelance and eventually worked as an illustrator for Walt Disney World designing and doing conceptual  sketches for the Florida theme parks.  This eventually led to his move to California to work with Walt Disney Imagineering, where he was involved with the planning and design of Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland  and Disneyland Paris.

During the 1980’s he and his wife Laurie, also an accomplished artist, went to Montana for an outdoor painting workshop, fell in love with it and moved there. He has lived and worked in Montana ever since.   Tom’s work encompasses the West with landscapes, Native American imagery and his iconic Tee Pees, all with a freshness of color and innovative compositions.   His work appeals to many collectors.  Even though his subject matter is traditional, he represents these images with an almost contemporary feel with his use of color, composition and brush work.   I have admired his work for years and am proud to say I own a couple of his paintings.

Tom_at_the_easelTom at his easel (image via Tom Gilleon’s web site)

I am also honored to know this living artist who this year has had two one man museum retrospectives of his work.  Last year at the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, and opening August 16, 2013 “Let Icons Be Icons” opening at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls Montana.  Way to go Tom!!

For more information on Tom and his work please visit his web site by clicking here.

P.S. For a good laugh check out the BS section on his site. 🙂


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