The Garden by the River

Giverny 2 2009

 

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” 
Claude Monet

The Seine, rising from Source-Seine, 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon in north-eastern France, is one of the most important waterways within the Paris Basin.  It flows 776 kilometres to the English Channel at Le Havre.  The city of Paris boasts 37 bridges that span the Seine, including the celebrated Pont Louis-Philippe and the ancient Pont Neuf. Outside Paris, the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges, links Le Havre to Honfleur, known for a picturesque port beloved by the Impressionist painters: Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet and Johan Jongkind.

Claude Monet chose the village of Giverny, which is positioned on the right bank of the River Seine where the river Epte meets the Seine, to create his most beautiful masterpiece. The sighting occurred quite by happenstance when Monet looked out a train window on a trip between Vernon and Gasny. It was April 1883, the time of rebirth and transition.  It had been four years since the passing of his young wife, Camille who has succumbed to tuberculosis, September 1879 at the age of thirty-two.  Grief stricken, Monet turned to his art for consolation.  From the vantage point of a train, he knew, at first glance, where he would live and paint for the rest of his life.  He created his dreams and gave us the vision of beauty that came from a garden by the River Seine.

Today marks Claude Monet’s 153rd birthday.

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.”
Claude Monet

91 Comments

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you! When you are immersed in Giverny, it is difficult to understand, Claude Monet’s words: “My life has been nothing but a failure.” Even the most brilliant and talented have sustained grief and disappointment. Perhaps that is what takes their creativity beyond themselves…

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      1. Or if I may, perhaps it is all beyond oneself–the mysterious flow of it all.

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      2. Clanmother says:

        A very interesting thought. Humanity seeks beauty and tries to define and benchmark this “mysterious flow” as a method by which to control its source and power.

        “What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”
        ― Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!!! There is something magical about a garden, no matter what season.

      “I must have flowers, always, and always.” Claude Monet

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  1. Gallivanta says:

    I am so glad I don’t have to understand but simply to love. That’s what I do sometimes; I simply look at his paintings and love their loveliness. Total immersion 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree…:)

      I gratefully accept the role of the on-looker. There are those who have the talent to create and others, like myself, to appreciate the creation. It seems that artists understand the essence of artistic endeavour. Recall that it was Vincent van Gogh who said, “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

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  2. Thank you for the wonderful pictures, both your scenery and Monet’s… I hadn’t known the story behind the garden… very touching. Thank you as usual for valuable information !!!…

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I am finding the stories behind the artists to be the key to understanding their work. Many (and I include myself here) think arts comes forth with dramatic flair – quick and efficient, like Zeus giving birth to Athena. It seems that there is a lot of angst in the creative cauldron.

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  3. friendlytm says:

    Thank you for celebrating Monet’s birthday on this site and your Chasing Art. Lovely!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      There is much to celebrate! Monet was a gift to the world…. 🙂

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  4. ctteodorico says:

    I have been there twice in winter and spring and is reallt unforgetable. Your pictures do the honors to the place.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comments and for adding to the discussion. My visit was in May – how I would love to see the garden in all seasons. I kept on thinking that I would meet Monet himself on one of the pathways…

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  5. LaVagabonde says:

    Beautiful photos! I would LOVE to visit Giverny one day.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Let’s go!!! I have only seen it once – in May. I would love to see it in all the seasons. When I was there, I remembered the first lines of the Desiderata from my hippy days many years ago. “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence….”

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      1. LaVagabonde says:

        Wouldn’t that be nice to meet there one day. 🙂 We actually just bought a small “pied a terre” in France, so I will be visiting France more often in the future.

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Giverny in the future!! Yes!!!!

        I have learned something new today! “Pied a terre” – a small flat, house, or room kept for occasional use. Somehow, I think you will be there quite often…

        My favourite Gertrude Stein quote is “America is my country, and Paris is my home town.”

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      3. LaVagabonde says:

        Oh, we didn’t buy something in Paris. WAY too expensive for us. We bought something in a beautiful little city in the Loire Valley – Angers.

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      4. Clanmother says:

        Found a link!! (it’s the English version – still need to brush up on my high school French. The tag line is : “Angers Offers The Highest Quality of Life.” Sounds perfect. there have 10 libraries – pure heaven!

        http://www.angers.fr/foreign-versions/english-version/

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      5. LaVagabonde says:

        That’s good to hear. I haven’t actually been there yet. Le Husband has been taking care of arranging the renovation, and then the renovation will take some time. I hope to go early next year.

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      6. Clanmother says:

        I’m staying tuned….!!!

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  6. adinparadise says:

    Such an exquisite garden! Monet was indeed a ‘gift to the world’. Love his art. 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      So do I!!! With his love of flowers and colour, it is hard to believe that he was ever despondent. Perhaps it was his ability to understand the extremes of emotion that allowed him to create a new vision of the world.

      “Age and chagrin have worn me out. My life has been nothing but a failure, and all that’s left for me to do is to destroy my paintings before I disappear.” Claude Monet

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      1. adinparadise says:

        Oh, how sad that he felt like that. Reading this, I just want to hug him. 🙂

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  7. Reblogged this on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and commented:
    “It is simply necessary to love,” Claude Monet. This post, this site, this woman, Rebecca, are all equally a thing of great beauty.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      My dear friend, thank you for your gracious comments and reblog. What I learned from my visit to Giverny – if we embrace the necessity to love, we recognize our creative soul….

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  8. Monet is one of my muses. Thank you for sharing this beauty with all of us. Hugs, Barbara

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Barbara, for your visit and heartwarming comments. His tenacity was as remarkable as his ability to communicate universal themes through the medium of colour.

      “These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me. It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel.” Claude Monet

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      1. I love the quote. He was amazing.

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  9. Denise Hisey says:

    Wow! Your photos are incredible!!!! I love Monet’s quote, too 😉

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Denise! When I visited Giverny, I felt the love that inspired its creation and understood why those who tended the gardens continued in the spirit of the great artist. I felt that, at any moment, I would meet Monet on one of the pathways…

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  10. cindy knoke says:

    Just ethereal Rebecca. I want to jump into the photos!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      The way photography is advancing, I’m certain that the technology to jump into the photos will become a reality! Let’s jump in together!!! 🙂

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  11. Wow, you’ve got some amazingly colourful pictures there! 😀 I can totally understand why any artist would have wanted to paint images of that garden! It’s the kind of garden you wish would be your own. I have a bit of a scruffy backyard, largely down to the Landlord who’s paid to keep it tidy but never does! 😦 But, in summer there are some amazing Calla Lilies – giant ones, they make it quite magical for a few weeks of the summer! All I need now is a small lake and maybe a bridge – perfect! 😉

    I love some of Monet’s water lilly paintings. I’ve been trying to paint one just like his for ages, but too many other things to do! 😀

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    1. Clanmother says:

      You have brought up a intuitive idea, which I have been thinking about ever since I read the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe (its her birthday, today, incidentally) I always assumed that artists simply woke up every morning and felt inspired to create a masterpiece – that life wouldn’t encroach on their need to paint. Well, it seems that they need to cook, clean, care for children, shop for groceries. etc. And then there are the emotional issues that are part of our existence. For example, Claude Monet, attempted suicide in 1868, after the birth of his first child. Artists are, in the end, human. I have come to recognize, that creative endeavours take courage and require the support of others. I especially liked the quote by Auguste Renoir

      “Without my dear Monet, who gave us all courage, we would have given up!”

      Thank you so much for adding to the discussion – very much appreciated, my dear friend!

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  12. Wow! Gorgeous photos! I’d love to visit 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I can only imagine what artistry would flow from your camera! If anyone can capture the essence of Monet’s Giverny, it would be you!! 🙂

      “Skills come and go … Art is always the same: a transposition of Nature that requests as much will as sensitivity.” Claude Monet

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      1. You’re far too kind!! Hugs and enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Claude Monet and to the fallen soldiers of France. This is particularly moving for me, given the recent November 11th Remembrance Day. Thank you!!!

      http://musiqdragonfly.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/claude-monet-1840-1926-inspires-joan-mitchell/

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  13. FlaHam says:

    Clanmother, 1st job after the Navy was as a security guard and the National Gallery of Art, in Washington DC. I feel in love with Claude Monet, and the other French Impressionists. I learned more about Art in those 2.5 yrs than have the rest of my life combined. It was a wonderful experience, thank you for such a wonderful post. — Bill

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    1. Clanmother says:

      What a wonderful place to work! To wake up every morning to go to a place of art, beauty, knowledge – what joy. I just went on National Gallery and found this gem, which is one of my favourites: Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and her Son 1875.

      http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.61379.html

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  14. Happy birthday, Claude. What stupendous gardens you have painted.
    Love the photographs here. Most striking.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!!! I have a point and click camera so I agree with Ansel Adams when he said…

      “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”

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      1. Love the quote but you appear to have a photographer’s eye. 😉

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      2. Clanmother says:

        You are very kind to say so…!! I set my camera on automatic and then let the universe and nature take over. They create the masterpieces and I enjoy the moments in retrospect. 🙂 You always make my day…

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      3. I guess we’re even then. It’s fun talking with you. 😀

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  15. lgyslaine says:

    I am french and I never saw its garden. Thank you for all these wonderful pictures. 🙂

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for your visit and heartwarming comments – very much appreciated!! 🙂

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  16. Jean-Paul says:

    excellent album, I know this garden, it is wonderful ♥

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Jean-Paul – this is magnificent. The music, the photos, your enthusiasm and joy!! Fantastic! 🙂

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  17. eleonore mosimann says:

    Greatest dream: owning a house on the bank of a lake, I feel like I understand Monet very well :p Giverny is such a beautiful place xx

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree – a lovely dream. It seems that we are drawn to water – perhaps it is that we intuitively know that water is essential to survival.

      “Water is the driving force in nature.” Leonardo da Vinci

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  18. Beautiful photographs! So green and lush.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!!! The photos were taken in May, the time when the green is moving from light to dark green. It was a cloudy day with momentary sunshine, which also added vibrancy to the colours.

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  19. Jean-Jacques says:

    I’m running a bit late in responding to some of these wonderful blogs such as yours, but publication a book takes more time than one would like.

    But Monet paintings, the Seine and the beauty of the content of your blog, on my home away from home France, will easily distract me from the final touches of book publishing. Thank you Rebecca for this and keeping rivers top of mind! JJ

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, JJ, for your comments – you always give me a lift for my day. I am delighted to hear that you have completed the publication of your book. How exciting – I am celebrating. I was overwhelmed by Giverny. I came in May, but would love to see the garden in all seasons. I want to return….

      Have you noticed that every story has a river?

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      1. Jean-Jacques says:

        In retrospect, though until you brought it to my attention it hadn’t come to mind. But you are right, every story, one way or another, does have a river, and who but our astute Rebecca is there to remind us.
        Great thought!

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      2. Clanmother says:

        You do make me smile!!! I have learned so much from this series of posts! The tragedy is that our rivers are in critical danger – wouldn’t it be wonderful if the story of our generation was that we saved them all…

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  20. jmsabbagh says:

    The More l look at these gorgeous pictures the more l yearn to have a vacation by the lake for ever.Beautiful post.Jalal

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you!!! I very much appreciate your heartwarming comments. Thank you for stopping by…

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  21. That’s a place I’ve been intending to visit for a while. Next summer I’m going to make the effort after reading this. Thank you.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I’m so excited for you!!! It gives perspective on the creative talent that is within each of us.

      “Every day I discover
      more and more
      beautiful things.
      It’s enough to drive one mad.
      I have such a desire
      to do everything,
      my head is bursting with it.”
      ― Claude Monet

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  22. I love the spirit of the garden. It always refresh my mind. So are those photos that look so beautiful. Thank you.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for your visit!! You made my day. I agree – there is a gentle and compassionate spirit within this garden.

      “The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.” Rumi

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      1. Ahhh. You always find the perfect quotation to fit it. Thank you so much my dear friend. 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Thank you so much!!! 🙂

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  23. The life within the life of a garden or river or forest is magnificent. It speaks languages that only the heart of love and peace and oneness can hear. Monet always had a sense of conveying that love in his art.
    yisraela

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Well said – and a wonderful benediction to the discussion! 🙂

      Like

  24. Sharifah says:

    I visited Giverny some years back, and it really made a lasting impression. I like the way that Monet gave each room of the house a different theme. Since then, I’ve always wanted to do that. Hopefully, I’ll accomplish it soon.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree – there is something about Giverny that inspires us to strive for all things artistic! I wish you the very best in your creative endeavours!!!

      “I would advise young artists…to paint as they can, as long as they can, without being afraid of painting badly…” Claude Monet

      Thank you so much for stopping by!! Your comments are truly appreciated.

      Like

  25. petrel41 says:

    Congratulations, dear Clanmother!

    I have nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.

    More about this nomination is at

    https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/versatile-blogger-award-thanks-horty-2/

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    1. Clanmother says:

      My dear friend, you have been a constant support and encouragement not only to me, but to other bloggers within our community. I am truly honoured by your nomination – it means a great deal to me! 🙂

      Like

      1. petrel41 says:

        Thanks for your kind words! Happy holidays for you 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        We have a snowfall in Vancouver! The holidays have begun – heading out for an adventure… 🙂

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      3. petrel41 says:

        Maybe making a snowman 🙂

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  26. Doris says:

    You made my day, love all the pictures, they are simply beautiful! Monet is one of my favorite painters, and is true you cannot put meaning to art you just love it.

    “I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I LOVE that quote! We owe a great deal to our dear Monet and his remarkable flowers. I think he would be pleased to know how much his garden has inspired creativity throughout the world…

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  27. So beautiful!! This is one place I must visit. Really lovely.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I’m coming with you!!! Here is a preview!!! 🙂

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      1. Absolutely gorgeous!! Thank you, Rebecca 🙂

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      2. Clanmother says:

        I’m glad you like it!! Isn’t it interesting that works of beauty and love live past the lifetime of the creator. Reminds me of a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien.

        “The Road goes ever on and on
        Out from the door where it began.
        Now far ahead the Road has gone.
        Let others follow, if they can!
        Let them a journey new begin.
        But I at last with weary feet
        Will turn towards the lighted inn,
        My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”

        ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

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