Friday, 16 December 2011

Film of Claude Monet painting waterlilies at Giverny

Below you can see a short film of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet at work on one of the paintings in his series of paintings of the nympheas (waterlilies) in the water garden at his home in Giverny in Normandy.

All plein air painters will wish to note:
  • the white suit he is wearing - which has no marks from paint!  Monet is always wearing a suit when photographed while working.  We can only assume this is summer!
  • the very large palette he is using
  • the fact that the canvas is absolutely rock steady despite what is obviously a very blustery day.
Claude Monet (on right) in his garden in Giverny 
with an unidentified visitor in 1922
Source: Wikipedia
It's preceded by a very short film of him talking with a man in the Clos Normand (the flower garden) at Giverny.  If you study the background we can see that Monet was a cat person!

The general consensus is that Monet was probably filmed in the early twentieth century.  The colour of his beard suggests he's older than he was in the famous photograph of Monet by Nadar in 1899.  He looks more like the figure photographed in the water garden in 1922 (see photo on right).

Monet was an inveterate painter of gardens and always painted the gardens of the houses he lived in (see Making A Mark - Gardens in Art by Claude Monet for previous posts I've written on this topic).

The garden at Giverny is an example of Monet creating his very own place to paint - with a separate flower garden and water garden.

I came across the film (which was uploaded to YouTube by nickwallacesmith) on the Painting Perceptions blog.  This has a post with some useful observations about Monet's habits as a plein air painter.


Prairie painter said...

Thank you for this wonderful link Katherine. I must admit to getting chills watching the video. To see Monet actually painting, where he stood in his garden, talking to people. He looks like someone you would want to meet.

And to have stood in that same spot. That is where the chill came in. I was so fortunate to have visited his gardens a few years ago. Still a highlight of my life.

A true gift to painters. Thank you again.

SusanTantlinger said...

Thank you so much for posting this film. Two things stuck me most; How Monet looks much longer at the subject than he does at his canvas. Also, how he turns to the right. For some reason I have always felt a very strong inclination (unbreakable) to have my subject to my left. I see the painter is right handed and so am I. Does anyone else have a strong inclination to turn to one side?


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