Before leaving Normandy we stopped in Giverny, Claude Monet’s home for 43 years until his death in 1926. The home and gardens are open to the public, and I was very interested to see the place where one of my favorite artists lived and worked.
To get the kids interested, I told them that Monet loved flowers, painting and being outdoors. Sagan picked up on this right away and was also eager to visit the home of a kindred spirit.
Kailas looked forward to the flowers.
Flowers? Giverny did not disappoint. The layout was impressive and you could tell that someone was having mounds of fun with the surrounding gardens.
There were even color coded flower beds! It was disappointing to find the Impressionist Museum located just down the street closed that day. Oh well.
Talking more on Monet, I explained to the kids that he had painted in his own style at a time when it wasn’t acceptable to do this. He didn’t follow the rules. He was chastised by art critics and other artists for doing this, although there were those that loved his work, too. One of these belittling critics wrote a review for a show that Monet and his fellow rule breakers had put together. In an attempt to insult Monet, he called it “The Exhibit of the Impressionists.” But Monet loved the title and was not offended at all.
After telling Sagan this tidbit, I think she liked him even more.
To explain the main concepts behind Impressionism, I used the beach that we’d just visited in Etretat as an example.
Monet had painted this same beach and it’s iconic cliffs many, many times. When Sagan saw this she first said why would he paint the same thing over and over? But then she saw how different each of his paintings were, and began to see that Monet wasn’t painting the objects, but how the light and shadows touched them.
She commented that you could see his brush strokes. She also came to the conclusion he must’ve been in a hurry, since things in real life change so quickly. Sagan is all over Impressionism.
Kailas, however, wasn’t that impressed.
They didn’t allow photography inside the home, unfortunately. It was such an inspiring place to visit – now I want to paint flowers! On the way to our hotel, we passed even more flowers of every kind. But there’d be no plein air painting for me today. Mark pulled over several times so I could photograph them.
Can you tell which one is the Monet?
Even the view from our hotel was Monet-like; a stream with water lilies outside our patio.
Speaking of hotels, if any were mentionable, then I would mention them. But so far they have all been just so-so. The one pictured above with the water surrounding it was called Hotel de l’Ile du Saussay. It was certainly unique, but I think we are all ready to be back in our own home for a while.