the artist's garden at giverny

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It was essentially a garden of perennials, highlighted by annuals. Monet established a number of basic principles to which he always adhered: bare earth was anathema to him; he avoided dark flowers; conversely, he could never get enough of blue … he abhored single flowers, permitting double blooms only in roses and herbaceous peonies; and he loathed variegated foliage.

Joyes, Claire (2010). Claude Monet at Giverny - A Tour and History of the House and Garden.

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Claude Monet (1840–1926, France)

Large-scale water lilly paintings

Monet was a French impressionist painter. He is arguably the most famous impressionist, with numerous works that have entered the popular consciousness. As an artist he helped establish the movement’s plein air principle of depicting nature outdoors rather than in the studio. Monet’s interest in capturing the sense of a scene led him to paint many different versions of some of his subjects, each taking pains to represent the changing nature of the landscape or architecture a different lights and seasons.

The water lilies (or nymphéas) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings produced during the second half of his career, and increasingly becoming the artists main artistic focus. The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at Giverny during the last thirty years of his life, and many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts. Many of the paintings were of standard size, but some were multi-metre wide canvas designed to be viewed as panoramas.

Happy first day of spring! It’s snowing in New York, but we’re picturing Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny. The artist frequently painted outdoors, drawing endless inspiration from the plants, trees, and pond on his property. These gardens were the great extravagance of his final years, and their upkeep required the services of six full-time gardeners. 

[Claude Monet. Agapanthus. 1914-26]

Water lilies and clouds.1903.
Oil on Canvas.
73 x 100 cm. (28.74 x 39.37 in.)
Private collection.

Art by Oscar Claude Monet.(1840-1926).

jean-Pierre Hoschédé wrote this about Monet’s gardens : “ They were unique as a group because they had been imagined, conceived and executed not by a gardener, but by an Impressionist who created them as he would have created a painting from nature.”

The Artist’s Garden at Giverny

Oil on canvas

89.5 x 92.3 cm

Located at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere

Music Accompaniment: Sho’s Lament by Cécile Corbel (from The Secret World of Arrietty OST)

A Chase

She stood at the entrance of the garden, entranced by the colors. Her previous chase following a white rabbit ended as her eyes lost sight of the animal, too distracted by the lights. Trees covered the overpass only allow minute rays of light to pass through each branch and leaf. But even in the dim light, the colors remained vivid.

            The rabbit was long forgotten and her purpose in the garden was no longer clear. The thought had vanished as quickly as the rabbit had. Left and right she glanced, yet there was nothing except for the greenery. Nothing. Yet the walkway was lined with flowers and plants of every shape and size. She saw nothing but nature at its finest. She stopped along the pathway and leaned into the patch of purple flowers. Taking in the aromas, the girl closed her eyes, the air bringing a wave of nostalgia.

            With a gust of wind, she could hear a whistling of the air, fighting to make its way into sacred pathway. Her hair picked up flight and clouded her vision as she made her way to another growth of color. The cloud of trees less dense the closer she stepped towards the end of the pathway, a blue canvas peeked through the ceiling. She dared walk into the flowers and off the path, too conscious to taint the perfection in the veil of flowers, too fearful of what lurked in the bushes.

            She turned to see where she had begun, in the lit darkness of the pathway, now in what little light shot through the trees, looking at a white house. The greenery ended abruptly, a touch of manmade work cutting it short. But in the paved road fronting the house, she saw something white speed pass, stopping for a second for the girl to get a glimpse. It was the white rabbit once more.

            She gave chase to it, her feet padding along the dirt road and feeling a tinge of shock as she hit the concrete pavement. But she didn’t stop. She only turned around once more, her eyes wandering through the hidden greenery, a night of its own. But she knew better this time, that the colors would not hinder her chase to the pesky rabbit. So she kept running after the rabbit, disconnecting her thoughts from the mysterious dark that lit her eyes so much.