Not far outside of Paris, we stopped at Giverny. Many of Claude Monet’s famous paintings were created right here at his home surrounded by the spectacular gardens. He actually cultivated most of it himself. You are able to walk beside the pond with water lilies, wisterias, and azaleas; while the gorgeous front yard is blanketed in tulips, iris, roses and every other flower you can imagine.
Monet would live here from 1883 till his death in 1926. Many of his American Impressionist friends would also work here painting, especially in the summer and spring when the gorgeous surroundings were in bloom.
The most surprising thing we discovered was Monet’s love for Japanese art. His collection is immense, made of 231 prints including works by Utamaro, Hokusai, and Hiroshige.
We understood because Japan was newly open to outside visitors, it seemed new and exotic; and, for this reason, many were drawn to Japanese Art during this time. Other Impressionist artists also collected it. Rodin’s collection is in the museum by his name in Paris. These works were often brought to Paris exhibitions, but they were created in Japan.
Conversely, the National Museum in Tokyo has many Monet paintings on display. Believe it or not though, Monet never traveled to Japan but imagined it in his own way.
In 1895 during a trip to Norway her wrote to his wife, “I have a delicious subjects here: small islands level with the water, covered with snow and in the back a mountain. It looks like Japan, as it often does in this country. I have on progress a sight of Sandviken which looks like a Japanese village, then I make a mountain that is to be seen everywhere here and who makes me think of the Fuji-Yama.”
Monet’s Impression Sunrise provided the name for the entire movement of Impressionism. He began his work along with Renoir in the 1870s, and he has a few of Renoir’s works on display as well.
We enjoyed the escapades of several French school groups, from preschool to high school, quite interesting …but we love to hear people speaking French Luckily, a little (very little) of Grandpa and I’s French schooling helps us understand “un petit peu.”
This place does that thing to you, or at least to me, where you start thinking – I’m going to start gardening when I get home, I will start small and keep cultivating it till my whole backyard is gorgeous.
And then you remember … I like to travel as often as possible, help out with the kids events as much as possible, and about 30 other things as much as possible, more than I like to garden.
So … I’ll just enjoy this one.
Next … on to Normandy!