WE’RE IN THE MONET

Monet masterpiece streams into San Antonio museum as part of rare exhibition

Monet masterpiece streams into the McNay as part of rare exhibition

Monet's Charing Cross Bridge, brouillard
Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, brouillard, 1902. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of McNay Art Museum

The mystery and allure of England’s River Thames are flowing into San Antonio in the form of an impressionist masterpiece now on display as part of a rare exhibition of water-themed works created by some of the world’s most celebrated artists.

The latest exhibition at San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum, titled “Monet and Whistler in London,” features rarely seen artworks from nine artists, including illustrious French painter Claude Monet and UK-based American artist James McNeill Whistler.

“Monet and Whistler in London,” which showcases artworks that explore the bewitching qualities of bodies of water, will be on view in the Zilker Gallery at the McNay through January 23, 2022. And while tickets are currently available online, fine-art enthusiasts also have the chance to check out the exhibition for free every Thursday from 4-9 pm.

On loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge, brouillard, which the artist painted in 1902 as part of a series featuring the landmark, highlights the bridge, one of many spanning across the 215-mile-long river, as well as the houses of Parliament in the distance — all amid a scene of sunlight-diffusing fog.

In addition to the Monet treasure, the McNay exhibition also features works from other artists who were likewise captivated by the distinctive atmospheric qualities of the Thames, including Whistler’s lithograph Early Morning, which reveals the mesmerizing yet subtle characteristics of London’s renowned fog.

Organized for the McNay by Lyle W. Williams, curator of prints and drawings and curator of modern art, the exhibition was funded in part by the Arthur & Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions and The Tobin Endowment. 

Additional artworks on display as part of the “Monet and Whistler in London” exhibition include:

  • James Tissot’s Les Deux Amis (Two Friends), which depicts one man bidding farewell to another at the dock’s edge, a scene, the McNay notes, that was inspired by the adventure of travel.
  • Winslow Homer’s Perils of the Sea, a haunting scene that highlights the dangers of the deep, embodied in two coat-enrobed women who anxiously await their husbands’ return from a roiling sea.
  • Joseph Pennell’s Sunset, from Williamsburg Bridge, which details New York’s East River, its steamboats and piers, as well as the famed Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan’s rising skyline.
  • Otto Kuhler’s The Valley of Work, the 1923 piece that captures Pittsburgh’s booming riverside industry.

“Monet and Whistler in London” features several works that are on display for the first time in many years, among them John Marin’s studies of the Brooklyn Bridge. The exhibition also includes a contemporary woodcut by artist Yvonne Jacquette, titled Midtown Composite, which focuses on Manhattan skyscrapers against a backdrop of the East River.

For more information about the McNay Art Museum and the “Monet and Whistler in London” exhibition, visit the museum’s website.