Friday 28 August 2009
QUEEN VICTORIA’S WATERLILY, TINTIN’S BLUE LOTUS, MONET’S JAPANESE BRIDGE AND LOTS, LOTS MORE.
Monet’s contribution to ‘modern art’ is immense.
He was one of the founders of Impressionism, and, as Post Impressionist Cezanne is said to have said: “Monet is only an eye, but my God what an eye.”
In his later life, Monet painted a series of approximately 250 paintings of water lilies, some of them huge, and in 2008 one of these paintings, “Le bassin aux nympheas”, sold for almost £41 million at Christie's in London.
More’s the pity then that his waterlilies have, for me, been debased and turned into the most boring paintings ever created. This is probably due to their gross over exposure and commercialization. In gift and souvenir shops they’re everywhere. One finds them on Christmas cards, place mats, coasters, calendars, diaries, prints, mugs, posters, aprons, T shirts, wallpaper and, no doubt, underpants.
Where are all these rambling thoughts going, you’re no doubt wondering?
Well, there is a connection.
We went to see Monet’s supplier of water plants – Latour-Marliac - at the nearby village of Le Temple-sur-Lot.
It’s a great place to visit and the historic connection to the famous Impressionist is impressive.
You’ll see copies of Monet’s invoices, a replica of his Japanese bridge at Giverny, and of course, millions of water lilies.
Then there’s a giant Amazonian water lily. This species was named after Queen Victoria when the first European grown specimen was given to her. It only flowers at night and the leaf reaches 1.5 meters in diameter.
There are examples of Tintin’s Blue Nile lotus, a pool of fabulously coloured Kois or Japanese carp, and a large bamboo collection.
I managed to do a quick sketch of a huge water lily, but pen and ink doesn’t do justice to these delicately coloured flowers, and I was rather disappointed.
Then I remembered that several years ago, I had also painted a water lily. It’s at the top of this page and it went to London as an anniversary gift.
If it reminds anyone of Monet’s water lilies, and if you ask, I’ll do another one for a lot less than 41 million – euros or pounds.
For more on my flower paintings please go to:
Posted by Ray Johnstone at 07:50