Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art: A Hidden Cultural Gem

By Christie Lewis

Fountains at Bellagio

The Bellagio is most known for its dazzling fountains that combine bursts of water choreographed to a variety of music, but there is more to theBellagio. It is full of incredible pieces of art including the 2,000 piece, hand-blown, glass blossom chandelier by Dale Chihuly. The conservatory and gardens found just beyond the lobby change five times a year and feature spectacular florals from around the world. The Picasso Restaurant surrounds diners with pieces of original Picasso artwork. The pinnacle of culture within the casino, however, is the Gallery of Fine Art, which features displays of visiting artwork.

Las Vegas locals often criticize their city for its lack of culture. It may not have a Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art or a Smithsonian, but theBellagio allows locals and tourists access to celebrated artists and well-known works of art.  The gallery, though small, could be a great introduction to art or, for those with more experience, a short escape into art when the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is too far away.

Past exhibits at the gallery have included works by Andy Warhol and Faberge.  The current exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) is “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light.”  Working in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), the Bellagio opened “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light” opened February 18, 2012. It features twenty works by Claude Monet, one of the founders of French impressionism. Outside of Paris, the MFA has one of the largest collections of Monet’s paintings, which they have graciously loaned BGFA until January 6, 2013.  The exhibit spans forty years and, in addition to the pieces of Monet, contains eight canvases by his predecessors and contemporaries, including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Camille Pisarro and Eugene Louis Boudin.

With encouragement from Boudin, Monet originally gave up sketching caricatures and turned to painting outdoors.  He was fascinated by the changes in light, both daily and seasonally.  He began painting a series where he would work for a few minutes on a painting, and as the light would change, he would change canvases.  One of the pieces from his most popular series of compositions, Haystacks, is currently on display at the BGFA.

Impressionist painters rejected the traditional conventions of their time and decided to exhibit painted sketch-like “impressions” as finished works.  Paintings by impressionists have texture.  They are not smooth and polished.  The viewer can see every color and every stroke carefully placed by the artist, and this is exactly the kind of art displayed in the gallery.

I have lived in Las Vegas now for six years, and this was my first trip to the gallery. As someone who has loved art and Monet since childhood, I enjoyed my trip. From the moment I walked in, there was a feeling of calm that is traditionally encountered in other, larger, art museums. I will never tire of seeing the artwork. They provide a quick cultural escape from the hustle and bustle of the Strip and the rest of the city that I will always appreciate.

SOURCES:
Attractions. (2012) Retrieved February 29, 2012 from Bellagio Las Vegas website: http://www.bellagio.com/attractions/.

Claude Monet: Impressions of Light. (2012). Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. [Brochure]

“Claude Monet: Impressions of Light.” Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Las Vegas, NV, USA. February 20, 2012.
Guest Services Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. (Email March 2, 2012).

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