Saturday, August 31, 2013

Claude Monet, Impressionist Artist

Water Lilies perch on the reflective pond. A small boat floats under the willow tree, in front of an arched bridge hidden by the foliage. An artist of Impressionist vision painted here, in Giverny, France.

Monet's Water Garden, Giverny, Fr. by DG Hudson

Claude Monet
1840 - 1926

Claude Monet, Impressionist Artist, PD-WC*

A prolific painter of the French Impressionist movement, Oscar-Claude Monet was also one of its founders. He was joined by his fellow artists and friends Auguste Renoir, Frederic Bazille, Camille Pissarro and others. They were painters of the en plein air method (painting in the outdoors, completed in one sitting). This new painting style focused on the interplay between light and color, and how a light source defines an object and its color. His multiple studies document the changing versions of a haystack or a cathedral.

In 1870, Claude met and claimed Camille Doncieux as his muse. They moved to Argenteuil in December 1871. Camille modeled for her husband and other artists early in their relationship. She posed for the famous Camille, or 'The Woman in the Green Dress'. She appears often in Monet's paintings wearing a blue and white striped dress. She was also painted by the artists Renoir and Manet. The second son Michel, was born in 1878, a few years after his older brother Jean, in 1867.

On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, Claude Monet 1868,PD-WC

In the photo above, the figure is likely Camille Monet. This is an early example of Impressionistic style.

Camille Monet became very ill in 1876, and never recovered her health. On September 5, 1879, she died of tuberculosis (or possibly cancer) at the age of 32. Monet painted his wife on her death bed as if he wanted to hold onto her spirit a bit longer. Did he regret the time he devoted to his art? Could he have done otherwise? She found the love of her life, and he loved her. Perhaps for Camille, that was enough. Claude died of lung cancer in 1926. He was 86 years old. He is buried in Giverny, France.

According to a tour guide at Monet's Garden, Michel, the only heir, died in an auto accident in 1966, and upon his death, the house, the garden and the water lily pond became the property of the French Academy of Fine Arts. Claude lived here with his second wife, but the gardens he nurtured for Camille. 

The Monet home in Giverny.

The Monet House, Monet Gardens, Giverny, by DG Hudson

A sense of serenity lives at Monet's Gardens. I'm glad the home, studio, and surrounding gardens were restored. This remains a tour attraction which draws many visitors each year.

Monet's Gardens, Giverny, Fr. by DG Hudson

Are you familiar with Claude Monet's paintings and other art work? Did you know of his muse and later his wife, Camille? Do you have a favorite painting by Monet? Do you prefer his people paintings or his landscapes?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and thanks for stopping by!


Claude and Camille, the book. . . A novel about the artist and his first wife, by Stephanie Cowell. My book review on Rainforest Writing Blog: Claude and Camille. Updated to show review October 26, 2013.


References: Claude Monet, wiki Camille Monet, wiki


The photo of Claude Monet and the painting used in this post are from Wikipedia Commons, and in the Public Domain.
Note: copy/paste problems with WC.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Camille Pissarro - Artist and Father Figure

In 1855, a young artist who would influence Impressionism and Post-Impressionism moved to France from Venezuela. Pissarro, part French (his father) and Creole (his mother), was born in 1830 on the island of St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands.

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro and wife, Julie, 1877, PD*WC,

Camille Pissarro was a father role model to many of his fellow Impressionist painters, especially the younger artists. He wanted to 'paint without artifice and grandeur', to show real people in everyday settings. A few of the artists he influenced were: Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, and Vincent van Gogh. Pierre-Auguste Renoir called him 'revolutionary' for portraying the common man.

The Paris Salon, the historical arbiter of tasteful art, disliked the new style movement and refused some of the Impressionist painters in 1863. Pissarro had previously shown his work in the Salon, but now formed part of the Salon des Refuses (exhibition of rejects).

Impressionists preferred painting outdoors and highlighting the beauty in nature. This style of painting studied the effects of varying light levels, different seasons, and time of day on various subjects. The paintings were often completed in one sitting, with subsequent variations following. Pissarro's painting, Landscape at Pontoise, is shown below.

Landscape at Pontoise, 1874, Camille Pissarro *PD-WC

In 1859, Pissarro met Claude Monet, Armand Guillaumin and Paul Cezanne. All of these younger artists were also painting in the new realistic style. The commonality between these artists was their dissatisfaction with the Paris Salon. An art movement was gathering speed.

In 1871, Pissarro married his mother's maid, a vineyard grower's daughter, who became mother to their seven children. They lived in Pontoise and Louveciennes, both of which furnished him with ideas for his paintings.

Pissarro and fifteen aspiring artists established a collective society of painters in 1873. Called the Société Anonyme des Artistes, Peintres, Sculpteurs et Graveurs, it existed because Pissarro kept the group together. His gentle guidance and his encouragement of his fellow artists drew new artists to the group.


The Depths of Glory, by Irving Stone.

A fictional biography of Camille Pissarro, artist and father to the Impressionist movement. The Depths of Glory explores the artist's relationship with other great painters of the time. It's a great 'background' novel for learning about the art collective that Pissarro fostered. This title is one of three great books on artists by Irving Stone.


Did you know about the artist, Camille Pissarro? Do you like paintings or prefer a certain style? Have you heard of the book, Depths of Glory?

Please share in the comments. Let me know if you've seen Pissarro paintings or other Impressionist work in art galleries in your area. Thanks for visiting!


For more on the Artist - Camille Pissarro, wiki - Salon des Refuses

Image Credits
*PD = Public domain, WC= Wikipedia Commons

Photograph of Camille Pissarro and Wife

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years

Painting, oil on canvas

The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

PARIS - A Door

What do they mean to you?

Doors let us in or keep us inside, they make us wonder what's behind them. A door allows us to pass from one location to another. A doorway can also be called a portal. Much can be learned from the size, design and the materials used to craft the door.

In a building in old Paris . . .

Paris Doors, Marais, by DG Hudson

Behind these bright blue doors is an 18th century building with residential apartments on four floors above the 1st floor entrance. You need strong arms to open and shut these sturdy, heavy doors. The size and thickness speak of earlier times.


Or the front door of a famous artist from the 1800s. . .

In a different century, the Van Gogh Brothers, Vincent and Theo, lived behind these simple blue doors. This famous artist site in Montmartre is identified by the plaque to the left of the main door. This route was part of a guide-led small-group walking tour of Montmartre.

Former home of Van Gogh Brothers, Paris, by Green Eye


A Golden Door fit for a King. . .

The door in the photograph below is one of the doors into the Royal Inner Chambers at Versailles. Note the royal crown in the top medallion. Only those truly in the King's inner circle were allowed beyond these doors.

Versailles, Door to Royal Chambers, by DG Hudson


In a place of rest. . .

In Pere Lachaise, doors add to the design interest of the monuments. The arched door on the left of the photo below opens inward to allow a moment's reflection. Further up the hill, other structures beckon us onwards.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, by DG Hudson


Doors at Moulin de Fourges, a French country inn

In the front of the 200-year-old Moulin de Fourges Inn, a river flows by the open deck. The same river provided power when this was a working mill. This picturesque inn located between Giverny and Versailles hosts tour groups for lunch.


Doors in a French Country Inn by DG Hudson

To a child, there's a whole world of wonder on the other side of any door. To an animal at the vet's, his worst nightmare is on the other side of any of those doors.


How do you interpret doors? Have you used doors in your writing to signify an underlying meaning? Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by!

For more Doors, see this post by fellow blogger, The Words Crafter, it's another take on doors and how interesting they can be.


A link to The Doors, in case you were looking for that. The Doors, Roadhouse Blues


References: The Words Crafter's blog - The Journey South, Fascination Doors. Blogpost about Pere Lachaise Cemetery.