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|From the exhibition theme Giverny|
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When Monet went to live in Giverny in 1883, he was accompanied by his two young sons and his companion Alice Hoschedé and her six children. His first wife Camille had died during their stay at Vétheuil. Their new home was an old farmhouse where Monet was to spend the second half of his life.
He soon began to create two beautiful flower gardens, and in the early 1890s, he constructed a water garden that was partially inspired by Japanese gardens. He used a small stream to form a pool and surrounded it with trees, willows and plants, irises, reeds and agapanthus. The pool was planted with waterlilies and was crossed with a Japanese-style bridge. Monet’s garden was created to provide a sensuous, enclosed space for painting.
Monet painted his last figure paintings in this period. They represent the children of the extended family boating or sitting in the orchard in springtime. Such works have analogies with Japanese prints of elegant women in boats or admiring spring blossom or autumn leaves. These paintings are more decorative and sensuous than his earlier works. They relate strongly to Japanese screens depicting flowers on a gold ground, creating vibrating and shimmering light effects similar to that seen in Monet’s Waterlilies and Japanese bridge.
Monet was a great admirer of Japanese prints and he decorated the walls of his home at Giverny with them. These two prints form part of Monet’s collection of Japanese prints, which still hang in his house at Giverny. This room contains versions of some of these prints.His collection was comprehensive — more than 200 prints covering all the main subjects of ukiyo-e, or ‘Pictures of the Floating World’ — beautiful women, Kabuki actors and landscape. The books displayed in this room were published between 1883 and 1891. They contain a large number of reproductions of Japanese works that were in France at the time, and represent the state of European knowledge of Japanese art and its history.