Entries from March 2009

Monet, Bonnard and many more

March 28, 2009

bonnard-vernon.jpg

A beautiful exhibition has just opened at Vernon’s museum. A must see if you come to Giverny!

It is entitled ”From Corot to Bonnard, masterpieces from the museums of Douai and Vernon” and features an impressive list of reknown artists such as Monet, Pissarro, Vuillard, Corot, Courbet, Bonnard and many more.

The visit leads you from the early stage of pre-impressionism to impressionism in its glory, followed by néo-impressionist works.  a feast for the eyes!

The exhibition is to be seen at Vernon’s museum for three months until June 28.

Bird’s View of Vernon

March 26, 2009

vernon-town-hall.jpg

It was a years’ long dream, yet a frightening one. Finally I took a deep breath, asked the mayor and the priest for permission. To my own surprise I was given the keys.

I felt like Alice in Wonderland. The keys didn’t look odd nor old. They were absolutely normal. But they opened a very special realm.

In Vernon’s church, a narrow door opens onto a spiral staircase that leads to the pipe organ. I knew that if you go on climbing you will reach the turrets and have an amazing view over the town.

I shut the medieval door behind me and started walking up the stairs. There was hardly enough space for one person, but there wasn’t any chance I would meet somebody else coming down.

It was a very strange feeling to be there alone. These backstage parts of the big church seldom have visitors. They look like their makers have just left them. You can almost feel the presence of the stone carvers and masons of the 15th century in the perfectly arranged steps and wall stones. Was I welcome with my cameras?

My heart was beating, but no time to hesitate. I had reached a narrow door. One of the keys opened it, and I was on the northern terrace in front of the House of Good Old Times, the tourist office.

The church and the half-timbered house were so close that they seemed to be speaking. I was afraid to slip on the smooth stones. I carefully closed the door and went on, higher and higher.

Finally I reached the top of the turret and had access to a small balcony. It is like being at the top of the big Wheel. You know you are safe, but you don’t feel you are. The view over Vernon was stunning. Town hall, houses, hills on the background, and over this a very norman sky full of lovely clouds. The pigeons looked at me with astonishment.

The strangest up there is to notice that so many stones are carved, adornated, although nobody can see them. The stone carvers of the Middle ages worked for the sight of God.

It was easier though slightly giddy to go down the spinning staircase. I felt relieved to reach the ground floor, but also sad to close the narrow door of the pipe-organ behind me, and even sader to have to turn back the magic keys.

Monet’s Family

March 6, 2009

the-monet-family-in-their-garden.jpg

Monet and Manet were good friends,  as apparent by Edouard Manet’s painting of Claude Monet and his family in their garden at Argenteuil.

The woman in white is Camille, who often posed for Monet and his fellow painters, especially Manet and Renoir.

The relaxed boy leaning against her is Jean, their eldest son. A second one, Michel, was born shortly before Camille died.

Both sons married, but neither of them had children. Monet had no grand-children. However, he lived surrounded by young people because his second wife Alice brought six children in the wedding. And she had many decendents, today about one hundred!

Under the Tulips

March 2, 2009

spring-flowers.jpg

This is how the garden of the Museum of Impressionisms Giverny looks like in April.

Small chambers of monochromatic beds are hidden behind tall hedges. Each one has a different atmosphere, creating a surprising effect for visitors who stroll along the central alley.

Tulips are a must in spring, of course. But they need to be planted together with smaller flowers at their feet for a greater impact.

Several varieties are suitable to cover the bare ground. Pansies exist in so many colors that it is possible to create infinite harmonies.

Daisies are also a simple solution. Their pink gives a fresh look to the flower bed.

But if you are as lazy as I am, you will certainly prefer forget-me-nots. They reseed on their own and offer a very tender and poetic cloud of tiny flowers for weeks.

They are generally blue, but can also be found in pink or white. In Monet’s garden they are widely used: blue forget-me-nots with pink tulips, white ones with white tulips or pink with pink tulips for a ton sur ton harmony.

Here in the Museum’s garden they are planted in a wave towered by a bunch of tulips: this way they give rhythm to the border.