A Day in the Life of Claude Monet at Giverny text and photos by Edie Ashley

Dear Shaded Viewers,

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being invited to Giverny, the fabulous house and garden of Claude Monet, that he designed and planted with ten committed gardeners at the turn of the twentieth century. Claude Monet was the founder of the Impressionists. He grew up in Paris, where he attended art academies but he got bored of the stuffy, old-fashioned ethos of the art scene, and quickly rebelled against it.

Monet held art exhibitions with a group of like-minded young artist friends. He displayed a painting and named it; ‘Impression, soleil levant’ (Impression, sunrise) 1872. This was the painting that inspired the name ‘Impressionists’, an art movement that began in Paris in the early 1870’s thanks to Claude Monet and his crew.

It was at the same time that photography was becoming established and more accessible as a recorded document of time. Therefore, art could become more poetic, and become an expression of an emotion, rather than an exact representation. These artists became poets.

It was the brave new world, America, that accepted the concept of Impressionism and gave Monet and his crew, support and belief in what they were doing. In 1886, an American art dealer found Monet’s work and took it back to the US where it then became very successful, leaving Monet and his collective with funds to carry on, and in Monet’s case, to go from occasionally renting the beautiful house of Giverny, to buying the whole property 1888!

The house in Giverny was frequently visited by Monet’s close friend Paul Cézanne and there is a document of a dinner party at the house with Auguste Rodin, Octave Mirbeau, Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet… one can only imagine the conversations had!

Pots and pans in Claude Monet’s Kitchen in Giverny

When Monet died on the 5th of December 1926, Michel, his only surviving son, inherited the property of Giverny, with the works inside and the important Japanese Estampes collection. Preferring to run safaris in Africa, he was not interested in the family residence. Blanche Monet Hoschedé, Alice’s daughter and widow of Monet’s older son Jean, took care of the house and garden with the help of the chief gardener Lebret. When Blanche died in 1947, the garden was almost abandoned and nature had taken its rights back.

In the garden there is a huge diversity of flowers and in many different colours, the garden has Agapanthus, Nasturtiums, Dahlias, Irises, Wisterias, Poppies, Water Lillies, Oriental Poppies and Peonies. There are 130 different types of tulips, 180 types of Dahlias, 500 types of flowers that flower all year round, 500 types that only blossom once a year. Because of the huge diversity of flowers coming and going with each season, It means that the garden in Giverny is constantly changing.

Inside Monet’s house in Giverny, Japanese inspired furniture

Inside Monet’s house in Giverny, paintings covering the walls

Lunch in the Giverny garden!

When walking around the garden in Giverny, it’s clear to see that Monet was a colourist. I imagine how exciting having a garden like Giverny would be for Monet, playing with the relationships that different coloured flowers have with each other and the emotions that they create. There is endless inspiration to be had from such a magical place, and I take my hat off to the gardeners that maintain such a beautiful, healthy looking selection of flowers !

I would recommend visiting the Monet’s garden in Giverny to everyone. It is really a beautiful sight to see !






Edie Ashley

Edie Ashley grew up in Wales, where she gained a love for motorcycles and horses. She is currently collaborating with Bolt Motorcycles on her first clothing collection made from surplus fabrics. She has a radio show on Portobello Radio called Dirt Bike Dub.