Monet @ The VAG

“It took me some time to understand my water lilies,” said Claude Monet of the pond in his Giverny garden. “I planted them purely for pleasure; I grew them with no thought of painting them. A landscape takes more than a day to get under your skin. And then, all at once, I had the revelation – how wonderful my pond was and reached for my palette. I’ve hardly had any other subject since that moment.”

Monet’s water lilies have found their way onto myriad mouse pads, novelty purses, coasters, cozy blankets and college walls. A BBC and SAA poll of 2,000 British art lovers placed Monet at #2 most-loved painter, after Turner and before Van Gogh. His Water Lilies series took first place as the UK’s favourite painting.

With his glorious garden scenes, some might assume that Monet’s life was content. But, this Paris-born, child prodigy struggled through plenty of dark times: an artistically unsupportive father, being drafted into the cavalry, typhoid fever, early critics who rejected this new ‘impressionism,’ the early death of his mother, the death of his first wife, serious depression.

Monet’s singular talents and pioneering techniques did bring him later success. Despite years of failing vision thanks to double cataracts, Monet painted into his 80s. Here he is, as ever,  painting in his garden.

Now, through October 21st, the Vancouver Art Gallery is presenting Claude Monet’s Secret Garden, featuring 38 of his paintings. Ours will be the only North American city to exhibit this selection from the Monet treasure trove at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris

You can follow the VAG tour on their app, where six paintings from Monet’s Secret Garden are paired with the music of six Canadian composers. Claude Schryer’s Blowin‘, for instance, accompanies Monet’s Champ d’iris jaunes à Giverny, painted in 1887 and featured in our header.

Schryer’s Eagle is paired with Le Train dans la neige. La Locomotive, painted in 1875.

R. Murray Schafer’s Snowforms accompanies the painting below, Les Roses, which Monet painted from 1925 to 26.

Sur la plage de Trouville. 1870–71

Nymphéas, 1903

“I must have flowers, always and always,” said Claude Monet.

Written by Elizabeth Newton



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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton