The new book on Japanese printmaker Hiroshige brought back happy memories of Giverny from my trip to France in 2007.
Monet had a personal collection of 231 Japanese prints by Hiroshige, Utamaro and Hokusai. Simply framed in black with grey mats, the prints still hang in his famous dining room. Walls were painted in tones of chrome yellow and gilt which also provided a stunning background for a collection of blue and white china.
Monet was not just a brilliant painter; he was a master decorator too. He brought a painter’s palette to both his home and garden.
There is one precious and well-used copy of Monet’s House (1997) by Heide Michels left in the collection. In her book, she tells the story of his unconventional family life centred on a love of good food, wine and company.
The Japanese art dealer, Tadamasa Hayashi, who was a frequent guest at Giverny, organized the first exhibition of Impressionist paintings in Japan in 1893. The printmakers often depicted the same scene with varying light conditions; Monet adopted the practice with his series of paintings of haystacks and poplars.
To make an armchair visit to the gardens, check out The Magic of Monet’s Garden by Derek Fell.
To recreate his recipes and brush up your French, have a look at Les Carnets de Cuisine de Monet. Unfortunately, the English language version (Monet's Table) is no longer in the collection. But we could help you track it down and bag it from The Alberta Library (TAL) database.