1 of 10
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Katy Corneli, left, Ryan Lynch and Silvia Gonzales hang "Woman With a Cape" by Pablo Picasso in preparation for exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

Let's dive right into some well-deserved hyperbole: The exhibition "Monet to Picasso From the Cleveland Museum of Art," at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts through Sept. 21, is more nourishing and better tasting than food.

How could any exhibit that spans Realism/Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism and boasts the inclusion of such artists as Courbet, Degas, Cezanne, Pissarro, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Seurat, van Gogh, Gaugin, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Magritte, Ernst, Mondrian and Dali be anything else?

With 74 pieces from the Cleveland's collection — on loan while the CMA completes its more than $200 million redesign/renovation — "Monet to Picasso" offers Utahns a rare chance to dine on what other major cities consume as a regular diet.

"This exhibition is a unique and tremendously exciting opportunity for all art lovers living in the region," said Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA director of public programs and curatorial affairs.

According to Dietrich, these works tell an engaging story of the European Modernism development from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th.

"We are proud to be hosting an exhibition of this caliber and confident that all those who come to see the exhibition and participate in the public programming that we have organized to complement it will have a memorable and thrilling experience."

Divided into sections highlighting the major art movements from 1864-1964, visitors are shown how artists built on one another's ideas and discoveries while making their own distinctive contribution to the history of art.

In mid-19th century Paris, the annual Salon of the government's Academy of Fine Arts was the major venue for artists to exhibit their work, win prizes and attract patrons. However, Salon juries systematically rejected work that did not conform to traditional subject matter, standards of beauty and style. Progressive artists grew increasingly dissatisfied with this system that favored the conservative over the innovative.

This yearning for change, and the resulting competitive scramble toward modernism, begins with such pieces as Renoir's "Romaine Lacaux" (1864) and Monet's "The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet" (1868-78) and culminates with Dali's outrageously bizarre "La Reve."

Other outstanding exhibition pieces are Cezanne's "The Brook" (1895-1900), van Gogh's "The Poplars at Saint-Remy" (1889), Gaugin's "In the Waves" (1889), Redon's "Vase of Flowers" (1905), Rodin's "Heroic Head of Pierre de Wiessant, One of the Burghers of Calais" (1886) and Modigliani's "Portrait of a Woman" (1917-18).

Those who appreciate Picasso will find the works in this exhibit exceptional. Two impressive paintings are "Harem" (1906), which many believe was the precursor to his masterpiece "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907), and his blue period piece "La Vie" (1903).

We also get examples from his Cubist period as well as his "Harlequin with Violin" (1918).

Admission to the exhibit includes an audio tour created to provide additional information and insight into many of the works on view. Visitors may choose between an audio tour created for adults or one for families.

To describe all the admirable works in "Monet to Picasso" would be impossible. Suffice it to say the feast that awaits everyone is incredible.

Bon appetit!

For a complete list of workshops, lectures, tours, films and other events relating to "Monet to Picasso," visit www.umfa.utah.edu.

If you go ...

What: Monet to Picasso From the Cleveland Museum of Art

Where: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah

When: Through Sept. 21

Gallery hours: Monday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (8 p.m. on Wednesdays); closed July 4, 24 and Sept. 1

How much: adults, $15; senior citizens, $10; youths (6-18), $10; children (5 and under), free; U faculty, staff and students with valid ID, $10; for group rates and tours, call 581-3580

Phone: 581-7332

Web: www.umfa.utah.edu

E-mail: gag@desnews.com