Claude Monet would be 174 years old today. He was born in Paris, France and is, today, one of the world’s most famous and popular artists. His style and work lead to the name of an art movement, “Impressionism.” Themes in his prolific body of work were capturing , light, reflection and natural form. This lead an art critic of his day to insult him with the name “Impressionist” . The name stuck and an art movement born.
Monet, like many artists during their lives, struggled with depression, poverty and illness. For the last 40 years of his life, he lived and painted at his beloved farmhouse in Giverny, France. Below you see a model of the house, a quick shot of an incredible Gift Shop, and the heavenly gardens that you have visited in art galleries or museums.
Let me tell you a personal story. We were driving from Paris to visit the holy ground of Normandy. As some of you may remember, my oldest brother was a paratrooper who jumped the night before D-Day, the invasion, and later died of non-life threatening injuries. I wanted so much to visit Giverny and of course it was not a priority of the architect. But what a grand surprise when he detoured and we arrived for a half day visit. It is a very popular day trip from Paris and there were a number of buses, too many for the parking lot, with many were just parked along the small road.
I won’t try to describe the garden as the paintings and video are much clearer , but I did have a couple of memories about the house. From the little pop-up book model, you see the four main rooms. I loved the casement windows that open outwards and let the flowers, sun, and fragrances into the house which is set right in the middle of the garden! I also remember the color yellow which is shown in the model. I think these aspects of the house were to help him fight the never ending depression. Another thing that struck me was that there were none of his paintings on the walls, not a one that I noticed, but there were lots of Japanese paintings of water color and lithographs. Could this artist who is probably the most recognizable in the world today, have suffered with low self-esteem? Amazing. . . . . and yes, for the shoppers. . . . the gift shop is so complete that it will take you at least an hour. Never I have seen so many examples of an artist’s work for sale except at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked.
Garden at Giverny
Are you a fan of Monet and Impressionism or not? Do you have a favorite artist? ( And Monet is not my favorite , BTW! )