Jackie Wullschlager marvels at the quality of the works in the Namhad gallery Monet show up in London right now. The show reminds us how much material still remains in private hands, much of it unseen for decades or longer:
Most beautiful exhibition in London this winter? Monet, at Helly Nahmad’s gallery in Cork Street, consisting almost entirely of canvases owned by his family or from other little-known private collections, has no competition. Shows of such calibre in an uncrowded private gallery, bringing you up close and personal to great, historically significant works, are both rare and unnerving in their splendour. Many paintings here have been in private hands for a century, never shown in London. Spanning the years 1872-1908, they form a condensed mini-retrospective, recapitulating the stages by which Monet came to depict reality as a rapturous series of light effects dissolving colours and forms. […]
Although they do not change our view of impressionism, such outstanding canvases vitally refresh it, for their unfamiliarity delivers something of the shock of the new which visitors to Durand-Ruel’s gallery would have experienced in the 1870-80s. Shattering pictorial expectations by transforming motif after motif into compositions that were literally about sensation – the act of perception, the excitement at conquering the representation of light – Monet changed forever how we look, broadening our range of vision in a way that was both optimistic and democratic.
Monet at the Helly Nahmad Gallery (Financial Times)