Art: Letting Nature Reign Resplendent

A superb Monet show proves how much more than "only an eye" the painter was

, Claude Monet, the quintessential impressionist painter, was born in 1840. That year Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, and in France both Ingres and Delacroix were at work. In 1926, when Monet died, Lenin was two years dead, and Picasso was already a middle-aged man of 45. Having lived such a span, Monet in old age looked like a relic of the 19th century -- hardly a modern artist at all. What could his painting offer a postcubist culture?

A great deal, as it turned out. Ripeness was all. Monet produced his best work after he turned 50, and it came...

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