Monet the Late Years at the De Young

Fighting with cataracts Claude Monet became a master of impressionism and a forebear of modernism. With a muted color pallet he fought through a disease that could have broken a lesser man. I feel privileged to  have seen and visited Giverny and so many of Monet’s works in person both in Paris at Marmotton and Orangerie, at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and now at the De Young in San Francisco.

I posted last week lighter and brighter early works seen at Orangerie, those which are the most famous and known worldwide.  But this “Later Works” exhibit at the De Young was amazing.  It was fantastic to see how he adapted both with color and impressionism.  Giverny, his muse, is identifiable in mind bending ways.  His pink house, his roses, water lilies, the Japanese bridge all recognizable if you know what you are looking at.  All of which are blurry and likely painted at least partially from the memory of a man who loved this land as much as he could any single person.

I stood before them humbled if not for the masses of people stepping on my feet and elbowing my sides.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things and places in my life but these “things”, these paintings, are something meaningful and hard to explain for me. I am grateful for them, the man who created them, and grateful for the opportunity to have seen them in person.

Monet Earlier Years – Paris

A few years back I had the luxury, and yes I will call it luxury, of visiting the sublime Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.  It was a trip highlighted by Mr. Claude Monet first at Giverny, then at Musee Marmonttan Monet and finally at Orangerie.  Monet felt Paris needed a little cheering up after the war and gave them a place of peace and sanctuary to observe and be with his massive water lilies.  (I think that is a beautiful sentiment some of us could use even now.) Since this visit I have been hyper aware of all things Monet counting the days until I can visit the tulips at Giverny again.  Why am I writing about this now?  Well, I recently visited an exhibit of late Monet works in San Francisco which I will post about in short order and I thought it would be fun to see early works flanked by later works soon. Stay tuned friends…


Giverny Village

Once I had my fill of Monet and his tulips we still had the better part of an afternoon before we needed to take the train back to Paris.  The photographer side of me wanted to go back to take more photos after the light changed but the rain started, and kept coming, and then the wind kicked up.  So, relishing in the country air free from the hustle and bustle of Paris we went for a rainy and windy walk through town.

We had lunch at the Hotel la Mustardiere and visited the church and cemetery where Monet and his family were laid to rest.  We stopped by some antique stores and ultimately escaped the rain at the Musee des Impressionnismes who was holding a Caillebotte exhibit.



We had dinner at the Hotel Baudy which holds an impressionist history of its own.  American artists descended upon it once they found out Monet lived in town.  The hotel was partial to artists and put them up even creating a lovely studio on the grounds for them to work in.

Finally we rushed to the bus that took us out of town and to the train.  We had one final look at the mustard fields that were surely inspiration to Monet once upon a time.



Has anyone been to Giverny or Monet’s garden during a different time of the year that can comment on how different it may have looked?

To read more about my trip to Giverny and Monet’s garden please check this out.

Monet & Givery – Part One (Tulips!)

Monet & Giverny – Part Two (Tulips and Ponds and Japanese Bridges)

Giverny – Monet’s Masterpiece – Part Deux

So, it turns out I had too many photos to put in one post.  So, lucky you I made another!  A pleasant surprise when visiting Giverny was the interior of Monet’s beautiful home.  It took me a lot to put away my camera and to leave the garden but that is exactly what I did.  I didn’t really have any expectations about the house since I really came for the garden.  I was pleasantly surprised by a large house with lots of light that was comfortable and smartly put together.

The lovely building, painted pink and green (it somehow weirdly works), has been lovingly restored to what it looked like in Monet’s day.  Monet had a lovely studio and an apparent love for Japanese art.  It was also a joy to view his gardens from every window and angle in the home.

Additionally, one can walk down to look at Monet’s pond where he painted the famous waterlilies and Japanese bridges.  The tulips followed us and we got a magnificent view of the pond.  The waterlilies weren’t out and the wisteria was only begin to bloom.  But with all the tulip action nothing was going to ruin my mood, not the rain, the clouds, or the cool weather.

Can anyone think of a place that gave more inspiration to a single artist that Giverny?  I am sure they are out there I just can’t think of any.  What about locations, like this, that were built just as an artist’s muse?

To see my previous Giverny Monet post highlighting the triumphant tulips please click here.

Giverny – Monet’s Masterpiece

I came here for the waterlilies and left with a camera full of tulips.  About an hour train ride outside of Paris I found Giverny to be truly magnificent.  It is no wonder that the impressionist Master Claude Monet built this house and garden and made it his muse.  There truly is no reason to go anywhere else.  (That’s big talk from a restless traveler like me.)

It was a smidge early for spring and quite cool and rainy so I set out for Giverny hopeful that anything at all would be in bloom.  Well, to say I was surprised was an understatement.  The tulips were in force and I was enthralled.  I have truly never seen anything like it and I have seen a few gardens in my day.

It’s times like this I forget my camera could be destroyed by the rain.  But, I didn’t even care.  A rainbow of colors and shapes caught my eye for hours.  And thankfully mother nature was merciful enough to hold off the heavy rain long enough for me to get some shots.

It was a privilege to visit this place and I am left wanting to come back in every season.  Wouldn’t it be great to see those water lilies in bloom?  The roses climbing across the central pathway?  The trees in their fall colors?

For now I am so pleased to have spent the day with the tulips.  I hope you enjoy them half as much as I did.

Who wants to plant some tulips?  Has anyone even seen bulbs like this in their home town?

For other France musings please click here…