Comparisons to Monet Bothered This Artist. Now They’re Side by Side.
By Steve Kallmann
In the spring of 2011, two of the world’s most celebrated artists, Claude Monet and Piet Mondrian, teamed up to create a series of works entitled Claude and Piet. Together for the first time, the two artists created a pair of paintings depicting each other that would have taken them thousands of hours to complete each on their own, and as a result, they would never have met.
In 2007, Monet showed a collection of twenty works from a series he called La Foualle (The Fair), which were based on drawings of children of various colors with their dogs. In 2004, Mondrian showed the last of a series he called Fouarisme (Fairry), inspired by the fairs he had visited during his travels in the Southern French city of Arles, where he would sit with his wife, Jeanne, a little white dog, and draw them from memory.
The works made with the dogs in Monet’s collection, however, had to come from the artist’s own mind – drawing directly from memory. This had the effect of making the works in Monet’s collection look less like a piece of art and more like a collection of snapshots. In Mondrian’s case, however, the process of drawing the dogs and their owners in his drawings forced him to work harder than he would have preferred, and, as a result, he came out of the process with a more powerful and original body of work.
In creating the first Monet / Mondrian painting, the artist had to work hard to match and even surpass his own level of skill. Mondrian’s work, on the other hand, was not a series of simple snapshots of the work, but a series of very complex, layered drawings in which each layer was an increasingly complex layer of information (or, rather, the lack of information) about the work. As a result, Mondrian was able to work with less precision – or, rather, the absence of precision – in his work while Monet had to work with more precision in his.
What’s more, Monet, at one point in his life, had a difficult