Giverny, place of memory

A guided tour of Monet's garden by Marie-Rose Faure,
Responsible for the educational service of the three museums.

French version : Claude Monet garden giverny

In Giverny, the team of Monet's house under the direction of Madame Linsey, attach  much importance in considering that this is a place of memory, and this for many reasons.

First of all the garden. At the bottom of the steps in front of the pink house turning its back to the road, it shows the richess of the owners. It is the symbol of the bourgeois gardens at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century. The blue vases, source of inspiration of paintings, confirming the look towards the Orient. The roses, the refined flower beds of "flowers which are sheltered in the winter" (geraniums, begonias) surround the wicker garden chairs painted in green.

The welcome is master of social appearance. Sorrow, drama, torment, all forms of introversion keep quiet with educational demand. And the capital of periannuals, pride of the place, gives each year its revenue of flowers.

This garden rises. In the spring, crocuses are near to the ground. In May, the irises rise a little higher. The roses and clematis in June play with the wind in the poppies. And in the Automn, the magnificent dahlias mingle with the masses of velveted asters.

Facing the flight of steps, the pathway of nasturtiums, place of memory in the highest sense of the word. The voices disappeared of the guests of Monet have the pitch of Zola, Cezanne, Clemenceau, Proust, Pissaro, Berthe Morisot, Octave Mirbeau... All of those who left their image of cultural exchanges of that time came here. And the shadow of Mallarme  of whom the photographe welcomes us in the small sitting room cristallises the debate which took place.

Place of memory because the layout of the alleys are signs of the way of life of the inhabitants who lived in self sufficiancy. The henhouse of the brown chickens tells of the importance of the poultry and eggs in the daily menus whereas the orchard with its rows of apple trees and candeliers of pear trees, is souvenir of the tradition to keep all through the winter in the fruit store room, the desserts from the earth. At the bottom of the garden the round place under the tree remembers the ladies needleworks, occupation for heavy hot days.

Place of memory inhabited by Monet's genious, this grand bourgeois who lived here his period of glory. There is a pathway which shows the shades of blue or the complementary colours. We remember his research for transparence, his quest to capture a blue on different backgrounds, in the shade, in full sun-light or in the folds of an Iris-petal. Not the drawing but colour. Look at the purple borders along the yellow gravel alleys, nearly pointillist with these shaded festoons. Or capture in May-June the profusion of blues in the garden when the shades vary under the effects of the mouvement of a stem. Place of memory because each category of plants remind us one of Monet's letters inquiring on poppy seeds or another speaking about how quickly the Irises flower.

Place of memory, place of creation, twice born from the spirit, this is how the water gardens appear to us. Here Monet creates an inversed universe, where the shadows are calculated : in the center, the infinite variations of the sky, on the borders, the thickness of the reflexion of the vegetation and on the round leaves laid on the water, the shadow  falls, cannot penetrate the layer. At the far end, near to the small barrage, appear the "small waves in Monet style" as is written by Zola, waves which blur the outlines of shapes. Branches of weeping willow skim the surface of the water, play with reverberation. To this universe in unstable shades, Monet surimposes a second creation, the series of Waterlilies.

Place of memory also, the house. Moer than the kitchen, territory of the women, or the dining room, intellectual conviviality, it is the walls which are fascinating, they who expose the japanese engravings. The framework of the Master's work about the motifs taken in the garden, step by step will be under this influence.

The visit can be profitably completed by the visit of the American Art Museum in Giverny. In the Vernon museum, one must absolutely contemplate the two paintings of the master of which one Waterlilies. 

Marie-Rose Faure,
Responsible for the educational service of the three museums.

See also :

A visit to Claude Monet's garden
List of plants and flowers of Claude Monet's garden
Flowering calendar in Claude Monet's garden
Claude Monet's garden in Autumn
Philippe Delerm at Giverny
Map of Claude Monet's garden (91Kb)
Aerial View of Claude Monet's garden (78 Kb)
Tips and tricks
Talk : A Site for Sight : Monet in his Garden at Giverny

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Saturday, 07-Apr-2018 05:01:33 EDT