A painting by Impressionist Claude Monet has returned to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, after being seen by almost one million visitors at a major exhibition in Paris.
The Church at Varengeville, one of the University of Birmingham gallery’s most popular works of art, and nearly 200 other works by Monet, were on display at the exhibition Claude Monet 1840-1926 at the Grand Palais between September and January.
The show proved so popular that the venue opened round the clock to cope with visitor demand during its last weekend of being open, with some queuing for up to five hours in the freezing cold.
Birmingham’s much-missed Monet shows a view across a hidden gorge to the isolated cliff-top church at Varengeville in Normandy.
Monet’s practice was to work simultaneously on up to eight canvasses, moving from one to another as the light changed. The Barber’s sunset view of Varengeville is from a series of four painted in this way.
By 1882, Monet had largely abandoned the Impressionist practice of finishing a painting from nature; here the final touches were added in his studio. He became the most commercially successful of the original Impressionist artists.
The French exhibition was visited by 910,000 people and was the first major monographic show devoted to his work since 1980.
It featured almost 10% of his life’s work, with paintings lent by galleries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia and the USA.
The Barber’s Monet hangs in the Blue Gallery, where it can be seen alongside other masterpieces by such artists as Manet, Van Gogh and Degas.