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Grant number like: FZ-231455-16

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James H. Rubin
SUNY Research Foundation, Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY 11794-0001)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016

Why Monet Matters, or Meanings Among the Lily Pads

The writing of a book placing the well-known art of a popular artist in literary, cultural, historical, and philosophical context to deepen understanding and appreciation of modern art in general.

Few painters are as famous as the great French Impressionist Claude Monet. He is a staple of the museum exhibition circuit, and few masters bring higher prices. His house and gardens in France, with their placid lily ponds, are among the most visited sites in Europe. Using this popularity to attract the widest audience, the book will offer ways of thinking beyond surfaces when looking at modern art. Monet’s Water Lilies appear above all to be a call to visual experience. Their scale and aesthetic presence suspend thoughts of the outside world and its conflicts. Yet when one realizes that these works were made in a period of social and political turmoil-regime changes, the Dreyfus Affair, and WW I—questions must arise about the context—personal, cultural, and historical—in which an artist creates such sumptuous fantasies of nature. By revealing those conditions, it is possible show how Monet’s work—a harbinger of American abstraction—appeals to something deep in modern consciousness.