|1914 - 1917|
For 30 years, until his death, he painted and painted and painted the ever changing scene in his Japanese styled water garden. 250 paintings of water lilies in all, and like the scenery itself, they show a changing artistry and endless experimentation with color and light. The Wadsworth had eight of them, from his earliest tries to the increasingly surreal scenes at the end of his life.
Painting water lilies: it was an obsession that he freely admitted to.
But there was another obsession on display in these pictures. An obsession that all of the readers of this blog know well. Claude Monet was as proud of his gardening skills as he was of his paintings.
|1895, before the wisteria and willows grew|
We have all known that gradual seduction in our own gardens.
Monet was a real gardener. He had to get permission to divert a nearby stream to make his pond, no small task. He experimented with exotic plants, learning how to cultivate water lilies. He copied Japanese aesthetics and built the famous arched footbridge. He planted wisteria on it and depicted it over the years as it crept over the railings. He planted weeping willows and irises. He bought more land next to his garden that became a lush private park.
|1925, darker, intense, covered in vines and trees|
And, like any obsessed garden blogger with a digital camera, he recorded what he was growing, how the garden changed, and what he saw that so enchanted him.
Monet, in fact, would have made a great garden blogger.
Oh, and he was a talented painter too.