Flowers, Color, and Light: Monet's View of the World
The artist's home in Giverny is a mecca for flower and art lovers.
Flowers, color, and light are essential elements in interior decorating. And nowhere are these more evident than in the home and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny, France.
Filled with the bright, clear colors of nature, this home is a must-see for anyone who loves art, flowers, color, or decorating. It is especially remarkable because the usual decorating of the day included heavy curtains, large velvet upholstered pieces, and dark, sombre interiors.
Monet broke from that tradition when he moved here in 1883, enchanted by the quiet village of Vernon, rolling country hills, pretty trees and fields, all laid out gracefully along the banks of the Epte River.
Monet was still a struggling artist when he arrived in Giverny. It was one of his paintings that had given this new arts movement its name -- "Impressionism" -- for the use of dabs of color on canvas, rather than sweeping brushstrokes or more classic painstaking detail. While at first reviled by critics, Impressionism began to grow in popularity and by 1890 Monet's art was selling well enough that he could afford to purchase his rented home for the price of 22,000 francs, equal to the price of just two or three of his paintings. He stayed in this home for the rest of his life, until 1926.
Monet's love of pure color is fully expressed in the decoration of his home. Outside, bright pink stucco walls contrast with forest green shutters. Inside, brilliant yellow hues brighten the dining room while lovely watery blues and greens grace the entry. In the kitchen two tones of blue burst into a riot of color, highlighted with copper pots and blue and white tiles from Rouen.
On display in the dining room are the matching yellow china cabinets filled with a collection of blue and white china pieces as well as the yellow and blue banded dinnerware he had commissioned in his own design. In the center, a large table is set for the family and guests. A pretty fireplace at the end of the room shows off blue and white tiles under a mantle decorated simply with an arrangement of bottle green vases. Japanese prints cover the walls.
The home is one room deep and about five rooms wide, each with windows overlooking the magnificent gardens where great care was taken in the planning and planting. Monet eventually expanded his land to include a small stream, pond, and waterlily gardens on an adjacent property. At one point he employed a staff of six gardeners to care for the grounds and keep the gardens supplied with flowering blooms.
It is the gardens that seem to be the focal point of the home. Laid out in neat rows, with paths, archways, and color, Monet oversaw every detail. Strolling through them, one almost expects to come upon the scene of Monet painting his wife an child in front of his magnificent rose garden. Join us for a beautiful photo tour of Monet's gardens. ( Please open your browser window to its maximum size for best viewing .)
Art images courtesy of ArtSelect.com
~ Glenna J. Morton