A Masterpiece Returns: Traveling Monet

By Emily Gold Boutilier

View of "Morning on the Seine, Giverny" in gallery at the Mead.

An exhibition reunited Morning on the Seine, Giverny with other paintings from the same series.

[Art] Amherst’s Monet is back at the Mead Art Museum after a yearlong getaway to Oklahoma and Texas.

Morning on the Seine, Giverny was part of the exhibition Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

This exhibition focused on the painter’s Mornings on the Seine series, a group of 28 paintings exhibited together only once—by Monet himself in 1898. The Philbrook and MFA Houston brought together a selection of the 28 from around the world.

Morning on the Seine, Giverny is in the Mead’s permanent collection, a 1966 bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss. Charles Morgan, the first Mead director, writes in his memoir of visiting Bliss at her house: She asked, “Would you like a Monet?” and showed him to an upstairs bedroom so drenched in sun that he could see little more of the painting than the frame. When the oil-on-canvas first arrived at the Mead, Morgan was staggered to have received such an important work of art—part of the series that immediately preceded and influenced the famous Water Lilies.

"Morning on the Seine, Giverny"

The Mead’s Monet is well-traveled. Five years ago the museum’s then-director, Elizabeth Barker, escorted it to a show at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. From there it traveled to Paris for a Monet retrospective at the Musée d’Orsay.