Giverny or is it Monet!

Let me update this older post with text and links. One of the small popular towns in my belle France due to one person; Claude Monet. Without him, do not know anyone will know where Giverny is! I used to come often here for the old American artists and Monet. When moved to the Morbihan breton it has been years already. I like to tell you on this older post on Giverny or is it Monet! This one in my black and white series as pictures on the specific house museum post in my blog.

This is a small town, you can literally walk along its main street and that is it. However, for the famous per square feet /meter this is the world. Because of only one men, Claude Monet. Of course, they were other like the American painters who came here to seek inspiration and now the museum. I have come here often when lived in Versailles, not at all since moving to the Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne ,but it’s time to reminicent after an article by fame French history presenter Stéphane Bern in the magazine Secrets d’Histoire or history secrets.

Giverny is in department Eure no 27 region of Normandie. Only 3,5 km from transport hub Vernon, at the union of the Seine and Epte rivers.  Only 74 km from Paris and 64 km from Versailles. Actually the town is quite old ,  back in 863 king Charles II the Bold gives to the monks of the abbey of Saint Denis le Ferment the possession of Giverny!

In 1883 Claude Monet comes to town in a house that he rented and later purchased in 1890. He change the house and arranged the gardens and vegetable garden as well, and had carved on the epse river in 1893 a flower garden with a water lilies basin from where he painted the famous Nymphéas.  He died in December 5 1926,  and is buried in the cimetery next to the Church. As said, same time many painters most Americans came to the town and some became friends of Monet.

The things you can see here are  of course the house and gardens of Claude Monet.  The Impressionists museum showing the work of the painters of Giverny (before called the American center); The former Hôtel Baudy and the rosary where many of these painters came together.  the Church of Sainte Radegonde ,and the stone of Sainte Radegonde by the Church.

Now, lets get to the reason I write this post and update you on Giverny; Claude Monet! I am sure you know him, the whole world knows him. My favorite painter. The secrets d’histoire story on Monet:

The story tells of the relationship of Alice Hoschedé and Claude Monet or the love in impressionism. The first wife of Claude Monet, Camille is sick and Alice married to his best friend comes to help. The first baby of Camille and Claude Monet is born and Alice helps out. They lived in the house at Vetheuil with Ernest Hoschedé, Alice, and the Monet. They have 8 children with them, 6 with the Hoschedé and 2 with the Monet. Not too far into this ménage à quatre! Ernest leave for Paris not able to withstand the ins and outs of the house. It is said that behind each great men there is a greater women :J You can see theportrait of Claude Monet done by Auguste Renoir in 1875 at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Orsay museum on this painting:

There is ,also a portrait of Alice Hoschedé done by Monet in 1881. You can still go by the Castle of Rottembourg where Ernest and Alice Hoschedé lived before the ménage à quatre! It is in the town of Montgeron, Essonne dept 91 region of ile de France. The town of Montgeron and the castle:

It is the encounter at this castle that created first the love between Claude and Alice. In 1880, he had painted her at the Parc Monceau in Paris. Alice had a character stronger than Camille and at only 32 yrs old has some extra weight been already with five children.  The union with Ernest Hoschedé  came because he buys a portrait from Claude Monet called the  Soleil levant or sunrise done in 1872-73 over the port of Le Havre;  Ernest purchased it in 1874 for 800 francs! It was called later  Impression  possibly given name to the movement that later follow, and eventually change again to  soleil couchant or sunset until 1965 when a study shows Monet really meant the sunrise, it was stolen in 1985, and finally given to the Musée Marmottan-Monet of Paris in 1990. The Marmottan-Monet museum on the sunrise work:

During this early life ,Camille lived in an apartment without heating in Argenteuil , dept 95 Val d’Oise, and love lasts 35 years between her and Claude. There is a painting by Edourd Manet of 1874 La Famille Monet dans le jardin à Argenteuil.   Alice was invited as knowing that her husband had ruined her and left for Paris, she was in love with Claude and could not refuse coming to live with his family in Vetheuil part of the parc naturel regional du Vexin Français (see post) in Val d’Oise dept 95. Camille is sick and died of cancer of the uterus at 32 yrs old, Alice was there to help her until her last breath in her arms. She therefore, burned all clothings or belonging of Camille and stays the only women of Claude Monet.

The winter of 1879-80 is hard with minus 25 degrees Celsius and the Seine on ice .Monet just makes his first real money with the work Le Debacle painted in 1880 and sold for 1500 francs. Alice at home is in charge of all including 8 children!   She becomes jealous because Monet is always out away from home, to Vernon, Rouen, Pourville, Dieppe and Etretat etc. They moved to a house in Poissy (dept 78 Yvelines) changing nothing she demand that he writes to her each evening! He continue to travel, in Normandy, Bordighera in Italy, and Belle-île-en-Mer in the Morbihan Breton! Monet is unstable sometimes destroying his portraits with knives, changes to jokes or stress according to his many friends including Cézanne. He paints Bordighera several portraits while visiting there the one famous is call Bordighera from 1884. While Claude Monet is at Belle-île-en-Mer he writes 65 letters to Alice and paints 30 portraits until their marriage. The letters were burned by Claude Monet on the wish of Alice at her death.

In 1883, Monet makes his biggest decision purchasing a house in Giverny, he is already 43 yrs old. Alice is happy the children are well there. However, Ernest comes back from Paris and has a party with Alice to celebrate the 40th birthday! The children do not see well the sharing of love life in the house, and Martha the oldest daughter never arrived to be married maybe due to the situation in the family, and by January 1886 ,Alice threatens to leave Claude. Claude Monet leaves the house first to Etretat ,do not paint but writes letters to Alice. Becomes depressive do not want to paint, but Alice is in charge even if always jealous. The situation continues with Claude leaving for trips and Ernest coming for visits to Alice for several years!

By 1891 Ernest becomes very ill, and again it is Alice that takes care of him as she had done for Camille, the first wife of Monet. Ernest Hoschedé is buried at Giverny too. Finally ,in July 16, 1892, Alice became officially the wife of Claude Monet. Angélique Emilie Alice Raingo is her real long name. Ten days later her daughter Suzanne married Theodore Butler a young American painter in town. In 1897, Blanche daughter of Alice and Ernest married Jean, the son of Claude and Camille. Suzanne died at 30 yrs old leaving two kids orphan and Alice becomes ill. Depression sets in.

She accompanied Claude Monet on his trips to London 1899, Spain at Madrid in 1904 that they go by Panhard because Claude Monet was a passionate for the automobile. Finally , go to Venice in 1908, and he paints a lot here fascinated by the water coming back with about 40 portraits. It is returning from Venice that Alice begins to show her illness of blood and bone cancer ; a few months later on May 19 1911 at age 67 she died.

At 71 yrs old Claude Monet goes to a period of mourning, and depression gets him to destroy some portraits, when he lost his mother at 16 ,how can he survived alone in the last part of his life. He lost his son Jean in 1914 due to the great war or WWI. His daughter in law Blanche helps him at 50 yrs old and widowed as well becomes the blue angel for Claude Monet. Even with his catarat he paints his masterpiece Les Nymphéas in 19 panels and offered to France. He died December 5, 1926 in the arms of his friend Georges Clemenceau; on his burial the coffin in black cover was removed no, not black for Monet and was replaced by a flowery cloth.  In the shadows of the small Church of Sainte Radegonde of Giverny Claude Monet joins Alice, his son Jean, Suzanne, and Ernest!! (but not Camille Doncieux she is at Vertheil 95). For the record ,Camille was first a model for Monet and later for Renoir and Manet! All the correspondance and photos between her and Monet were detroyed by Alice jeolousy.   Six months later, the musée Claude Monet opened and France salutes one of its greatest artists. In 31 years Claude Monet painted 250 portraits of the Nymphéas. Inside of the former Hôtel Baudy, restaurant museum a place visited by Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley, Rodin,and Monet there is a reconstruction of his painting shop.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit and know a bit more Claude Monet are:

A wonderful site with information in English by an association Giverny:

The Claude Monet Foundation

The Eure dept 27 tourist office on Giverny:

The Normandie region tourist board on Giverny

There, an extraordiany men living ahead of his time,and even with blurry eyes had the best view of us all. The great Claude Monet, he still amazes me on his paintings and stories. Hope you like this one as I did.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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