This book provides a perspective of World War I, Monet painting at this time, and a perspective of France and Paris at that time and during the war. The meaning of water lilies is interesting. Monet's eyesight reads like it was a challenge in his later years while painting. It struck me how he had faithful friends and surprising when he had initially cancelled his donation to the state. There was much drama and death in his life. I had wanted to see Giverny and the book reinforced that and the desire to visit the Orangerie.
This is a beautiful, engrossing biography of a revered painter in his later years, struggling with depression, the loss of his wife and son, and rediscovering the compulsion to paint. Monet painted huge canvases from 1914 through the war and into the 1920s until he died, bequeathing some of the most magnificent of his paintings to France, begetting the Water Lilies exhibit in L'Orangerie. Giverny is a world class treasure, the garden that inspired his later works, and is now so lovingly restored and also open to the public.
Ross King also portrays the extraordinary friendship between Monet and George Clemenceau, the great French politician, who coaxed and cajoled the elderly painter to keep creating. This is a wonderful read for those who love biographies of creative people in our collective past. Winner of the 2017 RBC Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction.
It so changes the water lily paintings to think of them being painted in the middle of WWI.
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