Monet was a Hippie!

Now that I have your attention, let me start this article by saying that he is one of my favorite artists ever! Most of his crazy ideas and attitudes are why I like him so much! He definitely had a way of looking at the world that was extremely counter-cultural! From his family life, the way he decorated, painted, and dealt with his neighbors, he was quite scandalous.

Even though married twice, there are rumors still floating around about his wives and family today. It seems his family disinherited him because of his relationship with his first wife, Camille. Then Alice and he lived together for years before they were married. Her first husband was a wealthy art patron, but lost his money. She decided to stay with her long time friend, Monet, instead of her husband and married the artist years later after her first husband died. I have heard that she was abandoned. Then another story is that she and Monet became close after her husbands financial problems and his move to Belgium for work. Interesting, but I don’t think we will ever know the truth.

What is does show is that Monet seemed to love chaos. That’s the way I see him. From his marriages to his garden to the way he decorated, it seems he loved life most when nothing seemed to be in order.

He landed in a small village in Normandy called Giverny. It’s tiny, but very picturesque. He loved the northern part of France because of the light there. I don’t know if you noticed the photos from my last post of the houses along the Seine River, but those photos aren’t retouched. The lighting is natural. There was a lot of gray in the sky that day and the river seemed to cast a vibrant green to the pictures.  Here in the southern US, we tend to have cloudy days or bright, sunny days with lots of blue in the sky. We tend to say, “What a pretty day!” or “Nice day” and we all know what that means. There, the locals will talk about the pretty day and comment on the colors in the sky. They might say, “There is a lot of gray in the sky today” or “Did you noticed the marbled sky yesterday?”

One of the first things he dis was get permission to actually redirect the water flow so he could study the effects of lighting on the water! This sounds nice today, but his neighbors were farmers who depended on the water to grow crops! Then he starts planting plants that were not from that region. The people around him were worried about the water might become contaminated from the plants that were being imported from as far away as Asia, and they had less water!

All of this is lovely, and don’t you see the beauty in the chaos? The picture of the house with the flowers is his front yard. No lawn area, just an endless array of flowers, all kinds mixed in together. The flowers are still planted this way today. You can see where he had a definite idea in mind, but NOT orderly flower beds of the day, or even today. It all works together to be absolutely beautiful though.
Most of the homes were like the pretty cottages from yesterday’s post, but Monet painted his house pink with vibrant green trim! Don’t you just know the neighbors were thrilled?!? We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, so I’m borrowing these from the Giverny website. In my opinion, the house almost looks like something out of a Disney movie! I’m thinking Beauty and the Beast? He loved color and didn’t shy away from it inside either! I’m sure you have seen the pictures, but here they are, just in case.  I had seen the pictures before, but when you see it in person, the painted walls and furniture make a huge impact! It feels a little surreal! You can see the blue kitchen from the dining room.

The blue tiles are beautiful! But the painted furniture isn’t even the same shade of blue to me. This is jarring, but not really offensive. I actually really like it. The tiles, the beautiful range, the copper pots, the amazing kitchen fireplace, and that lovely ceiling lamp are sensational.
Alice’s bedroom has the same blue trim and moldings. But no blue furniture, which makes the bedroom less jarring than the living quarters downstairs, and much more restful!
He carries the yellow from the dining room into his Master bedroom! The green trim from the outside windows swing in to let in the air circulate…
And this clock reminds me of “Cogsworth” in Beauty and the Beast!
Monet certainly wasn’t afraid of color!

I found his home and gardens to be jarring, boldly colorful, enchanting, and completely wonderful! Even his chicken were frou-frou! I love that he found beauty in the chaos of life. So often I miss that and just want everything to be orderly and quiet. We can miss a lot of joy that way.

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