On the 'Monet' - Waldemar speaks

June 21 2011

Image of On the 'Monet' - Waldemar speaks

Or rather, Tweets.

I'm a great fan of Waldemar Januszczak, probably the best communicator on art and art history of his generation. So I was amused to see his tweeted verdict on the Monet painting featured in our programme 'Fake or Fortune?' - 'That is not a Monet', he said.

I don't know if Waldemar is a good connoisseur. I suspect he's an excellent one. So his view on whether David Joel's painting is a Monet is worth taking seriously.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about Waldemar's pronouncement is how very ArtHistory 2.0 it all is. Here's a painting he has only seen on the telly, and then he dials in his attribution via Twitter, in no more than 140 characters. If this is the future of art history, do we need real art anymore?

A later tweet gives his view in a little more detail:

'The painting looks wrong. Wrong angles, wrong perspective, wrong spatial awareness. It's not a Monet.'

I'm not a Monet expert, but for what it is worth I do believe in the picture. I also take very seriously the opinion of Professor John House of the Courtauld Institute (PhD on Monet, books on Monet etc.), who also believes in the picture. And I find John's latest evidence, found since we filmed the programme, extremely compelling: an obituary of Monet in Le Figaro (16th December 1926), in which David Joel's painting is illustrated, as supplied by 'Georges Petit', one of Monet's main dealers. 

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