The Musée du Luxembourg is presenting an unprecedented exhibition on Léon Monet (1836-1917), the overlooked brother of Claude Monet (1840-1926). A colour chemist, Rouen-based industrialist and collector, Léon Monet played a key role in his artist brother’s career. In 1872, at a time when Claude, having returned from Le Havre, painted Impression, Sunrise, Léon founded the Société Industrielle de Rouen and decided to actively support his brother and his Impressionist friends. This sparked the beginning of a remarkable collection of modern art.
The exhibition brings together around one hundred works, among them paintings and drawings by Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and Renoir, as well as books of colours, fabric swatches, Japanese prints, archive documents and a host of family photographs. The dynamic portrait that Claude Monet painted of his older brother in 1874, a vibrant illustration of the brothers’ deeply affectionate bond, is also presented for the very first time. The exhibition writes Léon Monet firmly into Claude’s biography and demonstrates the two brothers’ shared interest in colour.
With exceptional support from Musée d’Orsay, Musée Marmottan Monet and Académie des beaux-arts, Paris.
Géraldine Lefebvre, Doctor of Art History, 19th century specialist
Hubert Le Gall assisted by Laurie Cousseau