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Audiences Ready For Denver Art Museum To Show Them The Monet

Denver Art Museum director Christoph Heinrich remembers his first introduction to Claude Monet’s work as a teenager.

“It was a postcard of ‘Water Lilies’ that I had forever in my room,” Heinrich said. “That taught me that a painting is more than just a depiction of something pretty.”

The DAM is the sole U.S. site showcasing the new exhibit, “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature.” Featuring more than 120 works, the show spans Monet’s entire career and examines his relationship with nature.

Credit Courtesy of Denver Art Museum
Claude Monet in his studio. (1920)

Tickets for the exhibit, which opens Monday, have been selling steadily since it was announced — including purchasers from across the country. It’s not the first time a coup by the DAM has garnered such interest, Heinrich said. Exclusive exhibits including “Becoming Van Gogh” in 2012 and 2014’s “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century” also brought visitors from outside the state who came specifically for the exhibitions.

“It really turned out that people come to Denver if there’s something wonderful like this to see,” he said. 

Marquee names like Monet also help usher in crowds the DAM might not normally see.

“I think impressionism is a wonderful ‘gateway drug’ to the arts,” Heinrich said. “That’s the thing a lot of people get hooked by.”

While the old masters might be a little too religious or dated, impressionism is often something that everyone can relate to, he said. And before long you realize there’s a lot more to it than just “pretty paintings.”

Credit Courtesy of Denver Art Museum
'Windmills Near Zaandam' (1871)

“It is really a very serious dialogue with the medium as well as the motif — nature in the case of Monet,” Heinrich said.

“Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature,” opens Oct. 21 and runs through Feb. 2, 2020 at the Denver Art Museum.

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.
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