There’s going to be a big show of Monet's dazzling Thames paintings in London this autumn

Claude Monet loved foggy old London. Between 1899 and 1901, the pioneering French artist came to the city three times, painting stunning, incandescent visions of views across the Thames. And now, for the first time, they’re going to be shown here.

The works were first displayed in 1904 in Paris, and caused a sensation. Monet wanted to bring them to London the next year, but the plans fell through. Monet’s wish will finally be fulfilled in September 2024 when 21 paintings of Charing Cross Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Houses of Parliament will go on show at the Courtauld Gallery, just a few hundred metres from the Savoy where many of the works were painted. 

Monet was attracted to the dense haze created by London’s rapid industrialisation at the turn of the century, the way it created thick smog that enveloped the city and filtered the sunlight into surreal, psychedelic blankets of purple, orange and grey. He was obsessed, and would go to paint almost 100 views of the Thames. But here we’ll have the chance to see 18 paintings from the original 1904 exhibition (the other three here were painted later), the first time this has been attempted since that first show. 

Monet’s Thames paintings are among his most important works, and this exhibition is an ambitious art historical undertaking. Better 120 years late than never.

‘Monet and London. Views of the Thames’ is at the Courtauld Gallery, Sep 27-Jan 19 2025. More details here.

Can’t wait? Here are the best exhibitions you can see in London right now.  

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