French Artist Gabrielle Thierry to Exhibit at the Cantor Art Gallery

Paintings interpret ‘Musical Qualities of the Water Lilies’ by Claude Monet

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross will present the paintings of French artist Gabrielle Thierry in the exhibition “Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies/La Musicalité des Nymphéas” from Aug. 30 through Oct. 7. An opening reception, with the artist in attendance, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 5–7 p.m.

Thierry’s series of eight large-scale paintings were inspired by her rediscovery of the “Water Lilies” landscapes by Claude Monet on view at the the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. With special permission from the museum, Thierry painted in front of Monet’s originals over a period of 18 months from 2010 to 2012, where she explored the inner musical qualities of Monet’s famous paintings and visually interpreted them in her own. Exploring the perceptual phenomenon known as “synesthesia,” Thierry experienced the musicality she felt embedded in Monet’s semi-abstract impressionist paintings, which she then transcribed in abstract form, translating paintings into colored musical scores.

Gabrielle Thierry was born in 1966 and resides outside of Paris in Andrésy, France. Before devoting her career to painting a little over 10 years ago, Thierry was an engineer specializing in cognitive sciences and knowledge management. She studied at the Atelier du Carrousel - Louvre and École des Beaux Arts in Paris and obtained a Cambridge, UK graduate degree from Christie’s Education. This will be the first exhibition of her work in the United States.

Roger Hankins, director of the Cantor Art Gallery, collaborated with Brit Smith, director of the Holy Cross study abroad program, and Maurice Géracht, the Stephen J. Prior Professor of Humanities, to bring Thierry’s work to Holy Cross. Géracht and Smith serve as coordinators for the International Word and Image Conference, which rotates between Holy Cross; Université Paris Diderot in Paris; and Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, France. They met Thierry in 2014 as she presented her work on synesthesia at the conference in Dijon. Géracht and Smith also co-edit the award-winning journal “Interfaces,” a scholarly publication which publishes selected papers presented at the conference.

The College commissioned a painting for its permanent collection by Thierry entitled “Last Reflexion of Ophelia” which will be displayed in the exhibition, as well as a new musical work sharing the same title and written by French composer Eric Lebrun in 2017. Op. 39, for cello and piano, will be performed by artists-in-residence Adam Golka, piano, and Jan Müller-Szeraws, cello, in the Cantor Art Gallery during musical presentations throughout the exhibition.

The College and the Cantor Art Gallery would like to acknowledge and thank the French Cultural Ministry, through the Boston Consulate, for providing support for the transportation of Thierry’s works to Holy Cross.


  • “Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies/La Musicalité des Nymphéas,” Cantor Art Gallery Sat., Aug. 30–Oct. 7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Opening reception, Cantor Art Gallery Tues., Sept. 12, 5–7 p.m.

Gallery Information

Founded in 1983 through the generosity of Iris & B. Gerald Cantor, the Cantor Art Gallery serves both as a venue for a changing series of historical and contemporary public exhibitions, as well as a vital resource for Holy Cross faculty and students, linking exhibitions to the broader liberal arts curriculum.

The hours for the Cantor Art Gallery are Monday–Friday, 10: a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturdays noon–5 p.m. Located in O’Kane Hall, 1st Floor, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College Street, Worcester, Mass., 01610. Visitors needing assistance with handicap accessibility should contact Public Safety at 508-793-2011. Admission to the gallery is free.

For additional information please call 508-793-3356 or visit the Gallery’s website.

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