Monet and his God-Damned Water Lilies

I had been thinking about Monet and the lilies he painted  approximately 250 times in his lifetime. I was trying to find online evidence of the the derision of Impressionism I experienced from my peers as an Art major and later as an Art History major. In an intellectual snobbery, we maligned the movement precisely because it was accessible to most people.  Mostly, we disliked being reminded of the Impressionist art by its pervasive likenesses on coffee cups and mouse pads.

In my cursory research, I didn’t find the distaste for the lilies I had expected. Instead I found reason upon reason to respect Monet. Just when I transitioned into  fandom, I ran across Sue Dion, who’s work taught me more about Monet than I could possibly learn from a book or museum. Sometimes you are so innundated with an image it is difficult to see something new.

Dion’s Thoughts of Monet’s Garden is a masterpiece of abstraction. Using the broad strokes of a pallet knife, Dion expresses the underlying form of Monet’s work. She uses much of the same colors. Forms that have lost meaning bygain substance. I was carried away by Sur Dion’s work.

Sue Dion’s show is entitled “Beauty and the Edge,” at ArtsWorcester’s Franklin Square Salon Gallery, until October 28, 2017. Viewings are free but by appointment. Please email ArtsWorcester, or call 508-755-5142.


Mad enchantment : Claude Monet and the painting of the water lilies / Ross King.

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Monet at Giverny / text by Claire Joyes.

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Monet : a retrospective / edited by Charles F. Stuckey.

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Monet, nature into art / John House.

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Birth of a Nation (2016)


2016 deliberately references the D.W. Griffith’s 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker, Director of Birth of a Nation 2016, chose the title in order to stir up controversy and increase publicity.

Parker made the reference to the 1915 version; which was a completely different story. The pro-Ku Klux Klan The 1915 was one of the earliest, silent films. It is known as one of the most notoriously racist films.

The 2016 film has different subject; examining Nat Turner’s slave rebellion of 1831 from the slaves’ points of view.
The question is: does the new, 2016 film, stand alone? What would the movie be without the hype?

Join the Un-Common Cinema screening of the 2016 version, and join in the

outsider art:

outsider art: any work of art produced by an untrained artist who is typically unconnected to the conventional art world—not by choice but by circumstance.

The characterization of the artists who create outsider art were socially or culturally marginal figures.

These people nevertheless produced—out of adversity and with no eye on fame or fortune—substantial high-quality artistic oeuvres.


These works are from musician activist and artist Tim Kerr.


These works are from street artist Brian “Bydeeman” Joseph.




Kinshasha Conwill

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Extraordinary Interpretations : Florida’s self-taught artists

Gary Monroe

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The preference for the primitive

H. Gombrich

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Outsider Art

Roger Cardinal


American Self-Taught

Frank Maresca

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Drawing the city

Behan, Teju

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Frida Kahlo



Frida Kahlo’s name first broke the scene when Madonna heavily invested in her art. Kahlo was a Mexican painter whose art did not fit any convenient movement of the time; not even the current Surrealism.  No one was like Kahlo. She  had a sad story as a physically challenged woman. She broke her back and was confined to her bed for years. She continued to paint in her reclined position. Instead of the pitiful invalid, Kahlo’s self-portraits show her strength, her sense of humor and her pain. She was married to the famous muralist and philanderer, Diego Rivera, whose murals thematically included the power of the people and political uprisings.

Frida Kahlo: the painter and her work

Prignitz-Poda, Helga.


Frida Kahlo: the paintings

Herrera, Hayden.

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The letters of Frida Kahlo: cartas apasionadas

Kahlo, Frida.

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Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection & 20th century Mexican art from the Stanley and Pearl Goodman Collection



Madame X


This painting, Madame X, has always appealed to me. John Singer Sargent has simultaneously captured studied elegance and privileged disdain. The model, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, was a notorious socialite, known for her indiscretions. She was part of a new generation of sophisticates. Her beauty was intense, and there were many artists wanting to paint her. She and Sargent had a bond, both ex-patriots looking to augment their reputations by painting and posing.

Sargent captured her singularity by contrasting her stunning alabaster skin against a dark background and black dress. He was able to articulate her hourglass figure. The essence of her snobisme is the tip of her perfectly pointed nose.

While French society was shocked at the married woman who encouraged the gaze of men, I find her bold, unapologetic; an “in your face” beauty. The poor girl married into the French upper class by wedding a man twice her age. She managed to keep her independence and even her bravado in a claustrophobic situation.

Madame X elicits debate and heated argument to this day. Sargent found the image he knew was in her and that image made his reputation.