“Monet/Mitchell” Shows How the Impressionist’s Blindness Charted a Path for Abstraction

Claude Monet: Weeping Willow, 1921-22.

Artists, we are so often told, help us see the world differently. In the case of Claude Monet (1840–1926), this is literally true. Famously, 100 years ago, the French painter underwent surgery to “correct” the cataracts that had been increasingly blurring his vision for a decade or two. After the surgery, though his vision sharpened, colors continued to appear dull and cool.

You can see this in the canvases he made as he neared that surgery and post-op. Viewing a painting like The Japanese Bridge (Pont japonais), ca. 1918–24,one assumes that the vibrant chartreuse and heavy dabs of crimson must have looked slightly more naturalistic to the artist—they are so unusual, so different from his earlier, iridescent pastel palettes. In Weeping Willow (Saule pleureur), ca. 1921–22, gestural lines blur the image until it veers into abstraction. Without the title as a guide, the arboreal referents of his arching brushstrokes would hardly be recognizable.

Read the original article here…

@peepso_user_331(Katryna Gagle)
This article is quite interesting to me & comforts me. As you all probably know from my panicky whining, I’ve been losing vision in my left eye for the last year or so & I’m now legally blind in that eye. The right is iffy and at risk, also. My depth perception has been altered a lot which I think led to my preoccupation with depth in my paintings - if I get to the point where I can’t perceive depth at all, maybe I can paint it by applying knowledge?

Knowing of other painters who have been working with or embracing their visual disturbances is a great help to my adjustment, I wonder though if any two people see the same thing when they look at the same apple from the same perspective?

Maybe my vision is why I gravitate toward abstract. My sister encouraged me to paint what I see, rather than what I know things look like but I’ve not yet done that.
Please let me know of other painters in this category if you know of them.

@peepso_user_22(Jay Zerbe)
@peepso_user_331(Katryna Gagle) i'm aware of your visual problems, since you shared that with me quite a while ago. and i know in our weekly FOA meetings, you often ask for a detailed view to really understand what is happening on the canvas.

i admire that you persist in making visual art. i have often thought if i could no longer see, i might resort to composing music - since i have composed music in the past and enjoyed it. however... i really appreciate that i don't have to do that yet.

the article is very interesting because it discusses the exact reason for Monet's treatment of his work. i had never heard it described in such detail.

here is one list that i found which may be helpful and encouraging.
2 weeks ago
@peepso_user_22(Jay Zerbe)
@peepso_user_331(Katryna Gagle) another artist i thought of - Chuck Close.
1 week ago