The Cincinnati Art Museum has long been a cultural jewel that includes Chaîne members among its patrons. So when Dame Sara Vance Waddell got wind of a special exhibition on the way, she went behind the scenes to arrange an exclusive evening for us. “Monet in Giverny: Landscapes of Reflection” opened for a singular museum showing in February and we had a private tour on February 12, 2012 with Dr. Benedict Leca, Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of European Painting, Sculpture and Drawings. He assembled 12 paintings from various parts of the USA that had never been shown together, as well as some that have had very little public viewing at all. These Impressionist masterworks from both early and late in Monet’s career had the Giverny gardens as their subjects and had several water lily and Japanese footbridge scenes depicted. As a bonus, we were honored to have Fondation Claude Monet Chef Jardinier James Priest in our presence. Mr. Priest supervises the custodianship of these famous gardens for appreciative visitors from all over the world.
Dr. Leca lead us through the hall with explanations of the paintings given the time they were done to reflect the different periods in the life of Monet and gave time to contemplate the images before us. More in depth studies could be found in an eponymous book published concurrently with the show that had large format prints and essays from art scholars. We were fortunate to have the exhibition hall to ourselves after hours and had the opportunity to see another gallery of Picasso drawings on the way to dinner.
After getting spiritual and cultural sustenance, it was time for culinary sustenance! Renee Schuler of Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts provided her talents at the table while we were surrounded by art displays on all sides. The food courses all had hints of a French theme and all our wines were also French, from Laurent-Perrier Champagne and Alsatian Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris to classic Puligny-Montrachet, Medoc Bordeaux, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.
All attendees agreed that our combination of art and dining was an unquestionable success and hope that more such imaginative events will be planned in the future to challenge, console, sooth, and finally inspire our minds and palates.
J.T. Mayer, Chargé de Presse Provincial Midwest