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Claude Monet's Landscapes Around Giverny

Updated on April 13, 2015

Claude Monet's Paintings in and around Giverny

Monet and his family settled into Giverny, France in 1883. The subsequent 40 years of his life were mostly spent painting the landscapes within a 2 mile radius of his famous Giverny home and gardens.

It was during this time that he painted his most famous series of paintings - Poplars, Haystacks, Mornings on the Seine, and of course the infamous Waterlilies. In these series, Monet strove to capture his landscape subjects at different times of the day, atmospheric conditions (such as fog), and various seasons to create series of paintings with unique visual nuances.

The effects of the light would only last a few minutes each day so Monet would simultaneously work on canvases pulling out whichever one best suited the current light, color and seasonal conditions.

The Hills Around Giverny

While Monet's gardens in Giverny were maturing to the point where he was interested in painting them, he looked to the rolling hills north of Giverny and the cultivated fields of poppies to the south for inspiration. Those poppies and natural wildflowers of the area gave Monet plenty of subject matter with gorgeous displays of natural light and deep hues for him to paint.

He also painted figures amongst the Giverny landscapes utilizing his primary model, his step-daughter Suzanne Hoschede.

Poppy Field, Giverny, 1890 (Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA)

Oat and Poppy Field, 1890 (Private Collection)

Field of Poppies, 1885 (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia)

Woman with a Parasol (Facing Right), 1886 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

Woman with a Parasol (Facing Left), 1886 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. - Claude Monet

The Poplar Painting Series

The poplar trees that inspired Monet to paint an entire series in the summer and fall of 1891 were just a few miles up the Epte River from Claude Monet's famous Giverny home and gardens. The single file line of trees was in a marsh-like area along the bank of the river. Monet worked on his poplar paintings both from his floating studio and from a perch on the bank of the river.

There was actually a bit of drama surrounding the painting of these trees because in the midst of his tree-painting series, the commune of Limetz auctioned off the plot of land (including the poplars) to a lumber merchant. Monet had to rent (more likely purchase) the trees from the merchant in order to prevent them from being chopped down. He fervently raced against those loggers who planned to cut down the trees and sell them as timber as soon as possible. Once he had completed the series, he sold them back to the lumber merchant. He painted a total of 24 canvases depicting the poplars.

Poplars on the Epte, 1891 (Tate Britain, London, UK)

Poplars on the River Epte, 1891 (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland)

Poplars on the River Epte in Autumn, 1891 (Private Collection)

Poplars on the River Epte Seen from the Marsh, 1892 (Private Collection)

Poplars in the Sun, 1891 (National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Japan)

Stacks of Wheat Series

In 1888, Monet took note of all the large rounded stacks of wheat that dotted the cleared fields on the hills around Giverny every fall season. Monet set out to the fields with several canvases in tow. There he set up his easel, painting in an effort to capture the conical stacks of grain from different viewpoints, times of day and seasons.

Over the course of 2 years, he returned again and again seeking to render what Monet called 'instantaneity' - a scene that is unified only for a moment by an envelope of light. By the end of 1890, he had completed his first true series of paintings comprised of 30 canvases. Each one depicted shifting seasons, colors and light on those simple conical stacks of grain. Many of these paintings were begun in the fields and finished in his Giverny studio.

Grainstack in the Morning, Snow Effect, 1891 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA)

Grainstacks at Sunset, Snow Effect, 1891 (Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA)

Grainstacks at the End of Summer, Evening Effect, 1891 (Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA)

Grainstacks, Midday, 1890 (National Gallery of Australia)

Grainstacks in the Sunlight, Morning Effect, 1890 (Private Collection)

Mornings on the Seine Series

For nearly 2 years, Claude Monet left his Giverny house well before dawn to travel a few miles to the Seine River where he could paint from his floating studio. He routinely left his house at 3:30 AM to make sure that he was at the river to capture the early morning light through the fog that often covered the Seine. He painted quickly to capture the atmospheric effects before the fog evaporated. By late morning, he normally returned home as the effect had disappeared at that point.

The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists, 1897 (North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, USA)

Branch of the Seine near Giverny at the morning, 1897 (Hiroshima Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan)

Morning on the Seine, near Giverny, 1897 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA)

Haystack Posters - Monet Posters at Amazon!

Eiffel Tower Placecard Holders
Eiffel Tower Placecard Holders

Planning A French Inspired Wedding?

Take a cue from Giverny or Paris!

You don't have to travel to France to incorporate a little French flair into your wedding day. Consider having a garden wedding that is inspired by some of Claude Monet's paintings or his Giverny garden. Utilize red poppies or purple wisteria in your floral wedding bouquets or centerpieces for example.

Or use French wedding favors with a fleur de lis or Eiffel tower motif. Place card holders, votive candles, glass coasters and even personalized edible chocolate bars feature these designs.

Leave Your Claude Monet & Lens Comments!

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    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Such beautiful artwork. Very nice lens!

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      Another lovely Monet lens!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens! Gorgeous images.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens! Gorgeous images.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Really interesting background on these paintings, particularly (for me) the part about the poplars. Now I'll sound so smart if/when we see a Monet piece in person again. My artsy husband will be so impressed!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What a lovely lens!