Monet’s Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism, a book review


The last 40+ years of Claude Monet’s life were mostly spent at his property in Giverny, France.  It was during this time that Monet cultivated his most significant work, the property gardens which became the inspiration for many of his paintings.  As a master gardener/planner he organized every square inch of the property from design of colors and flow, to types of flowers, shrubs and trees, and finally his prized lily pond with a Japanese footbridge.  Monet’s arrangement were like sweet music in his mind, he orchestrated each note and bravado, because he knew in the end the paintings based on his gardens would bring a lifetime of applauds.

After Monet’s death his treasured gardens were opened to the public, but over a 50 year period the gardens weren’t maintained and finally became a jungle of weeds, dead plants and no semblance of what once was.

It’s noted that a Mrs. Lila Acheson Wallace became the voice and planner who helped bring back the extraordinary glory of brilliance and organization to Monet’s gardens.  Working hard she won the assistance of many people and organizations to achieve the goal.  In 1978 the doors of Monet’s Giverny property opened to the public once again so people could walk among Monet’s gardens and appreciate the special place that became the focus for so many of his works.

It was in 1978 that The Metropolitan Museum of Art joined in the celebration and organized an exhibition of the major works Monet produced during several significant periods of his life while in Giverny.  The exhibition was titled, Monet’s Years at Giverny:  Beyond Impressionism.

In addition to the exhibition The Metropolitan Museum of Art also published, Monet’s Years at Giverny:  Beyond Impressionism, which was a full chronology, and a “selected” bibliography.  In addition the book has pictures of the artist, his studio and colored pictures of the 83 paintings that were displayed at the exhibition.

If you are looking for a book that highlights Monet’s life, paintings and accomplishments during his Giverny years, then this is a book worth pursuing.  The Met put a lot of time into researching Monet as a person, through his  journals, and that of his family and friends, to news accounts, etc.  The museum portrayed Monet in very personal way, so the reader got a good sense of who Monet was as a man and as an artist.

I picked this book up while visiting Giverny back in the early 1980’s; it may still be available from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  You won’t be disappointed.

I rate the book 5 stars!

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About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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