Friday, 3 February 2012

Monet's Garden In Giverny

The book Monet's garden in giverny: inventing the landscape proved to be a book filled with rich and insightful records of the impressionist master's life, painting endeavors and his passion for gardening at his giverny house (1883 - 1927).  I found the book to be very useful in helping me to have an insider's peek into how Monet went about designing the landscape, planting the flowers and making it into another masterpiece filled with nature's grandeur. It's time to get to know Monet as a gardener and not just  as a painter :D

The parts in the book that made me smile the most were the letters that Monet wrote back home to his wife, Alice while he was travelling, totally charming! His plants and flowers were constantly at the top of his mind, he worried about them, missed them, just like how a parent would treat a child.


14 October: Monet writes to Alice, from Kervilahouen:
"For the dahlias, I really don't think it's time to bring them in yet, but they could perhaps be labelled, because if there's a frost, it's impossible to know which color they are; lastly, I'm counting on you to do all the things I unfortunately haven't been able to tend t; I'd also like someone to collect a few sunflower seeds for me. (........) The damage to the garden you describe doesn't surprise me."

10 November: Monet to Alice:
"So tell me if the chrysanthemums I sowed are flowering; if so, and there are some pretty ones, please mark them with a bit of wool."


3 April: Monet to Alice, from Antibes:
"I forgot to tell you that for the chrysanthemums it would be a good idea to replant them in the vegetable garden, spaced well apart, so that they can grow, and on my return we'll plant them out; if a few hollyhocks have survived, look after them.


9 March: Monet to Alice From London
"I hope you found the house and the garden, and the greenhouse, all in good order; it would be good if you could keep an eye on everything from time to time; and that Pascal gets a bit used to having an eye kept on him, too; likewise, it would be good to know what is happening at Florimond garden, see if the vegetables are in good shape, and know what has been planted. Eugene ought to be go there twice a week; it would be a good idea to find out and go there the day he is there."

For Monet, everything was thoroughly controlled and mastered in his garden. The book went on to narrate the following:

"The head gardener, Felix Breuil, and his team of five would receive precise orders, passed on to Alice when the artist is not in giverny, and Monet even went so far as to finance the asphalting of the road through Giverny to stop the dust from soiling his sumptuous water lilies. The artist left nothing to chance, primarily because he knew his garden would be his outdoor studio. As soon as he planted the first flowers in 1883, his intention was to paint them: I've had gardening to do, which has taken up a bit of my time, picking some flowers to paint them when the weather is bad." And when he applied for the permit required to make the pond, it was again to have "things" to paint.........the Giverny garden became his quintessential motif at the turn of the century. From 1900 to his death in 1926, Monet painted, and bequeathed us, nearly 400 pictures, not counting the panels at the Orangerie in Paris. More than half these works were devoted to his garden."

Water Lilies 1916

Water Lilies 1904

Water Lily Pond, Symphony In Green, 1899

Monet's Garden At Giverny 1895

The Garden In Flower 1900

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