Fall Colors

October 22, 2014

fall-colors

Yesterday I guided very charming hawaian guests at Giverny. It was nice to look at Monet’s gardens through their eye from Hawai. They reminded me that fall doesn’t exist on their island. It is summer all year round. Discovering the special spirit of this season sounded very exciting for them.  Autumn has started to work its magic on the foliage. The three sweet gum trees reflect their reds and oranges into the water lily pond. For us, who know what will come next, this dramatic show of the saison, despite of its beauty, has a special flavour of nostalgia and melancholia intertwined.

A Taste of Giverny

October 8, 2014

umbrella-giverny

Impressionist umbrellas featuring ladies with a parasol that hang upside down from a gutter,
and soap bubbles flying through the air and catching all the colors of light,
this is also Giverny, the village of the French impressionist painter Claude Monet.

Paint Box

October 2, 2014

Every last Sunday of September, the main street of Giverny “Rue Claude Monet” turns into a sidewalk sale. Hundreds of booths display a large range of used things, from antiques to books and toys. These so called Fairs to Everything (foires à tout) are extremely popular in the area of Giverny and attract thousands of visitors.

I photographed this paint box at the Giverny fair last week-end. It is a foldable one. I found it especially artful, if I dare say, because of the two little bumpers that prevent the two sides of the palet from sticking to one another when folded.
Below, the zinc box is partitioned to contain tubes of color and brushes, and a bottle of solvent.

Foldable means that the box was easy to carry outdoors for open air painting, the big revolution of the 19th Century. Thanks to the newly invented squeezable tubes of colors, artists were able to leave their studios and paint the landscapes they saw, generously lit by the sun.

I wonder whom this very paint box belonged to, and what paintings were made with it. The mystery contained in ancient objects is part of the fun we have going antiques hunting…

Blanche’s Bedroom

April 4, 2014

Blanche Hoschedé-Monet was at the same time Monet’s step-daughter, because he married her mother, and his daughter in law, because she married his son. She inhabited Monet’s house at Giverny until she died in 1947, taking loving care of the estate.

Her bedroom has been restored this winter and is now opened to the public. The furniture -bed, commode, bed table- had been left in the house. What was missing was carefully hunted in antique shops. The result is very charming, lively and poetic. On the walls hang several authentic paintings, including a Grainstack, snow effect (circa 1890) by Blanche, who was Monet’s pupil, and a Mother and Child (circa 1906) by Manzana-Pissarro.

2014 in Giverny

January 6, 2014

Happy new year, and best wishes for 2014!

Here is the stunning ‘black’ garden of the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny (Museum of Impressionisms).

The garden was created twenty years ago, this is why it indulges in this modern fashion for so called black flowers. Aren’t they amazing with their dark foliage or petals?

Of course black doesn’t exist for flowers, it’s always very dark red or purple, anyway unexpected hues for flowers.

Planting them together like here, and not just as accents, produces a very special effect, surprising and maybe a little bit disturbing, doesn’t it? I like the black garden, but I love the white one next to it!

The American impressionists will be back in 2014 in the gallery of the MDIG, that used to be the Museum of American Art Giverny, founded by Daniel Terra. The first exhibit will open on March 28, 2014 and is entitled “Impressionism and the Americans”. Featuring works by Cassatt, Whistler and Sargent, among many others, it will last until June 29, 2014. And for sure the impressionist painters used all the colors of the palette, not only black and white.

This exhibition will be followed by a second one focusing on Belgian artists, “Brussels, an Impressionist Capital” from July 11, 2014 to November 2, 2014.

 

Blue Flowers

September 6, 2013

According to Claude Monet’s step son Jean-Pierre Hoschedé, the painter loved blue flowers.

This beautiful solanum, a plant belonging to the family of tomatoes and potatoes, is covered with simple little blue flowers.

It matches the colors of the kitchen window with its blue squared curtains, a very typical french pattern called vichy fabric.

In late Summer, plants are at the top of their heigth. With a bit of imagination, the flowers of the Giverny garden look like big waves splashing against the walls of the house.

The First Studio

August 29, 2013

The large window of Monet’s first studio at Giverny looks like an eye scrutinizing the flowers of the garden in order to paint them.

It opens onto the little rose garden, a corner that is rarely explored by the visitors of Giverny.

See two posts below the view from the inside, giving the illusion of a painting.

 

June at Giverny

June 23, 2013

With the start of the Summer, flowers become a bit mad at Giverny.

They grow crazily in the garden of Claude Monet, enjoying the combination of mild weather and moisture typical for the Seine valley in this time of year.

Poppies, peonies, roses harmonize with eremurus, yellow sweet rocket or Canterbury bells in a charming way.

Wherever you look, you see waves and waves of flowers. No line interrupts them.

The secret of Claude Monet was to rise his flower beds slightly, in order to hide the path behind.

 

Signac Exhibit at Giverny

January 6, 2013

“Signac, the Colors of Water” is the title of the next exhibition at the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny.

It will open on March 29, 2013 and display 120 works by the famous post-impressionist painter Paul Signac.

Signac is well-known for his pointillist, sometimes almost mosaic like paintings. He also loved watercolors for a quick sketch of a place, especially harbors.

Signac was a great admirer of Claude Monet. He stayed for the summer at Les Andelys, not far from Giverny, where Monet visited him and bought him a watercolor.

The Giverny exhibit includes a sumptuous view of the River Seine at Les Andelys belonging to Musée d’Orsay.

Red Border

August 15, 2012

This flower bed graces the pond side in Monet’s water garden at Giverny. The main color is red, ranging from orange to purple. I’ve counted over 20 different kinds of flowers planted together, but there are probably more. Here are a few: New Guinea impatience, common begonia, angel wing begonia, common fuchsia, fuchsia microphylla, abutilon, asclepia, oxalys, sage, tithonia, heuchera, polygonum, sweet William, nicotinia… to quote only those that are flowering right now. This border is a good example of the way Monet liked to combine flowers. The appearant wildness of the garden is the result of a lot of work.

Philadelphus

June 11, 2012

Next to the first studio of Claude Monet at Giverny, the white waterfall of a beautiful philadelphus offers a dramatic show.

It faces the little rose garden, just perfect by now.

A bench nested at its feet is a nice place where to have a rest after meandering in the alleys.

If the wind blows, it will let fall a shower of white petals on the visitors seated below.

Giverny at Iris Time

May 24, 2012

The question of the ‘best time’ to come to see Monet’s gardens at Giverny is hard to answer. Many times are so beautiful!

The iris period is one of my favorite. The irises are just at their peak right now, displaying their charms in waves of white and purple petals in Monet’s flower garden.

I love the irises, but I love the spectacular tulips as well, the fresh blossoms of early spring, the poppies time, the roses, the gorgeous summer flowers including Nympheas and nasturtiums, the asters of autumn…

When is it the best time to see Monet’s gardens? There are so many, one visit is not enough, you must come back!

 

A Country Garden

April 19, 2012

giverny-green-doorOne of the charms of Monet’s flower garden is its countryside look. This secluded garden is surrounded by high stone walls typical for the backyards in the region of Giverny. While the houses open on to the streets, the walls are pierced by little wooden doors leading to narrow paths between the estates.  In Monet’s flower garden, this one was the way to the cottage of the head gardener in Monet’s times.
Against the walls, espaliered pear and apple trees recall the former use of the garden as an orchard, before Monet turned it into a magnificent impressionist garden. The straight alleys look like those of the kitchen garden it used to be.

Monet’s Garden in Early April

March 23, 2012

giverny-aprilThis is what you can expect if you are visiting Giverny in Early April. The white and pink magnolias are in blossom. Very soon, their flowers will fall on the lawns, creating a white circle at the foot of the trees.
The pimples of weeping willows have burst, long branches of fresh green leaves hang over the pond, reflecting in endless verticals.
Patches of yellow or white daffodils illuminate the spring grass and diffuse a fabulous scent.
Monet’s pond, where only a few water lily pads announce the future splendour of Summer, is stiller than ever, and the atmosphere very peaceful.
All the benches and bridges have been repainted a bright green. They look inviting.
And birds sing like mads, offering the perfect voice track for a quiet and serene visit of Giverny.

Boating Gardening

February 23, 2012

This is what is needed at Giverny to keep Monet’s pond as clean as a mirror:

– a flat boat copied from Monet’s, very common in his times,

– a big garbage can,

– a carp net,

– thick gloves to protect your hands.

Equipped with these very simple tools, the gardener is ready for the constant battle he has to fight.

The battle field is the surface, and the invaders are of different kinds. The main body of the army is made out of dried leaves and seeds. Drown bugs must go, too.

Alone against the ennemy that is continuously renewed, the gardener must be a super heroe. He needs a good balance, a strong back and strong arms to fish the dirt and take it out, leaf after leaf. Good spirits are essential too. Patience and perseverance.

 No wonder the algaes and leaves fishing gardener is the star of the pond, photographed millions of times by the visitors of Giverny.