Monet's house at Giverny with its painted facade and features.
In April 2024, ACE travellers will have the opportunity to visit Claude Monet’s House in Giverny during the Seine River Cruise. The house is home to carefully preserved and restored grounds curated by Monet himself, including the Water Garden, the subject of many of Monet’s later paintings including his Water Lilies series. In this article we explore a brief history of Monet’s House in Giverny.
“Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice.”
Claude Monet is perhaps one of the most famous French artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and he is well known for his founding role in the Impressionist movement. The movement gained its name from his 1872 painting, Impression, Sunrise. Throughout his long career, Monet created countless works depicting the landscapes and countryside surrounding Paris and Normandy. Monet paved the way for 20th century modernism with a unique style that focused on capturing the perception and experience of nature.
The Artist's House at Giverny by Claude Monet, 1912-1913.
In 1883, Monet and his family rented a house in Giverny where he became interested in tending and curating the garden. In 1890, Monet purchased the house and grounds; he had been using the barn as a gallery. It was an ideal location for sending his children to the local schools, and the surrounding landscapes offered plenty of inspiration for Monet’s landscape painting.
For the duration of his time living in Giverny, Monet manicured and curated the gardens of the house.
Monet continued his work as an artist, building a greenhouse and a second more spacious studio with skylights. However he also spent a great deal of time building up the gardens. Claude Monet’s wealth grew as sales of his artworks increased, allowing him the opportunity to invest in the development of the gardens. He wrote daily instructions for his gardener, including precise details for planting layouts. Much of his income was spent on buying and trading rarer plants for his colourful flower gardens and he remained the architect of its layout even after hiring seven gardeners.
Monet stood in front of one of the footbridges in his garden at Giverny, 1917.
Monet made additional land purchases whilst living in Giverny so that he could expand his gardens. By 1910 he had two main gardens: a flower garden, known as the Clos Normand, and a Japanese inspired water garden.
The Clos Normand had originally been an orchard but Monet had the trees cut down and instead planted a sea of colourful flowers in flower beds. In trying to generate as much colour as possible and to make a rapturing experience, Monet planted the rarest and most common flowers all side-by-side, allowing them to grow freely.
Flowering Arches, Giverny by Claude Monet, 1913.
In 1893, Monet purchased the area of land that now contains the Water Garden. The land was crossed by a small stream which Monet constructed a large pond around. The Water Garden was heavily inspired by Japanese gardens as depicted in Monet’s large collection of Japanese woodcut prints. The Water Garden featured asymmetries and curves with small footbridges granting access to different areas. Famously, Monet introduced water lilies into the pond, including local white lilies, but also imported ones from South America and Egypt. The range of lilies resulted in a range of colours inspiring many of his later paintings.
Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet, 1899.
In his later works Monet developed a style of painting in which he would depict a single subject or scene in multiple contexts, such as differing light levels or reflecting his changing interests. This was seen in his well known Water Lilies series, in which paintings of the lilies show them in different lighting and with different reflections as they are depicted from different angles.
Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond by Claude Monet, 1920.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet, 1917-1919.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet, 1919.
Claude Monet died in 1926 at the age of 86. His house was inherited by his son Michel, who did not live there, and instead Monet’s step-daughter maintained the property. Following the Second World War the property fell into disrepair before it was bequeathed to the Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1966. The greenhouse had been reduced to shards and the floors and ceiling beams of the house had rotted away. Trees were growing in the big studio and the pond had to be redug.
The Fondation Claude Monet is a non-profit organisation that runs and preserves the house and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny.
After almost 10 years of restoration the gardens were opened to the public in 1980. Today, Monet’s Garden in Giverny welcomes half a million visitors each year within the seven months it is open. It is home to more than 200 Japanese ukiyo-e prints from the 18th and 19th centuries from Monet’s collection. In spring 2024, the perfect time of year to enjoy the full range of colours in the gardens, ACE travellers on the Seine River Cruise will enjoy a visit to the house and gardens.
To discover more details about the Seine River Cruise 2024, click the button below:
The Artist's House | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Monet in his garden | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Flowering Arches | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Reflections of Clouds | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Water Lilies | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Water Lilies | Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Monet's House | Image by Veronica Reverse via Unsplash