#FridayPainting: Claude Monet “Rounded Flower Bed (Cobeille de Fleurs)”

Before Giverny there was Argenteuil.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) Rounded Flower Bed 1876

Whenever I think of Claude Monet, I visualize him in his gardens at Giverny. But there was another garden that is pivotal to his narrative and the narrative of Impressionism.

In 1874, Claude Monet signed a six-and-a half year lease on a house at Argenteuil, which is located on the Seine near Paris. He moved his family into a newly built, rose-coloured house with green shutters. Could it be that this was a foreshadowing of the green shutters at Giverny?

The house and garden became an overarching motif of his years in Argenteuil. Claude Monet painted fifteen paintings of this garden.

The same year he moved to Argenteuil (1874), Claude Monet was involved in organizing an exhibition of the Impressionists’ work. It was at that exhibition that his painting, Sunrise (1872), was exhibited , inspiring the journalist, Louis Leroy, to bestow the name that we all know and love, “Impressionism.”

Rounded Flower Bed, now ensconced in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, is one of the fifteen painting of his Argenteuil Garden.

Monet's garden at Argenteuil near Paris provided the subject matter for this painting: a flower bed of tall gladioli shimmering in the light. The figure standing under an umbrella is the artist's wife, Camille, enjoying a leisurely stroll. Rather than being the focal point of the painting, she is merely a figure used to define the space. The flower bed itself dominates the composition. Using thick, short brushstrokes that appear as dabs at close range but synthesize at a distance, and juxtaposing red and pink blossoms against green foliage, Monet simulates the shimmering visual sensations experienced on a hot summer day. Detroit Institute of Arts

14 Replies to “#FridayPainting: Claude Monet “Rounded Flower Bed (Cobeille de Fleurs)””

  1. I’m a huge fan of Impressionism.
    I grew up quite myopic. Everything was blurry, just like Impressionist paintings.
    I’ve always wondered if the Impressionists had bad eyesight, and painted what they saw?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Claude Monet was nearly blind at the end of his life and yet he painted on. I understand that he had cataract surgery that was unsuccessful. A few years ago, the Vancouver Art Gallery had an exhibition of Monet’s painting. There were several paintings that were painted when his cataracts had obscured his vision and perception of colour. The colours were browns and yellows rather than the blues and greens – it was as if autumn had arrived at Giverny. Still beautiful, still full of joy and love.

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      1. Ah… so bad eyesight was part of the reality of Impressionism. Autumn is a great time! I love walking in the fall. It’s like spring, but more… sprung. I love that Monet painted what he saw.
        Could a camera really capture what we see, in that sense? Impossible, I think.

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  2. Beautiful! ! The painting is beautiful! And, I did not know about his other gardens, although that should not come as a surprise! It is nice that he included his wife in one of his paintings. He was one of the “greats”, the father of impressionism/ Thank you for your information!

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    1. I knew that you would enjoy this painting, Frances. Everywhere Monet went, it seemed that he created a garden. He once wrote “The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” And we have benefited from his love of of nature. I am glad that he placed his wife in the garden – she completed the scene.

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    1. I agree, Cindy. Monet was able to introduce a Zen state in his paintings. When we visited Giverny, I was amazed by the Japanese influence in life.

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  3. Somehow I’m pretty certain that even if those gardens didn’t exist, he’d invent them! 😉 Thank you for sharing this wonderful painting, my dearest Rebecca. Many hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marina – you are very perceptive. Yes, I believe that wherever Monet went, he created a garden and captured the calm that comes from being in nature. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Your series As Above So Below is an excellent example of this connection to nature.

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  4. Camille may not have been the focal point of the painting, but I argue that’s she much more than a space holder. Without her blue dress, the garden would not be as beautiful! What a genius he was. Do you see how all the blues scattered within make it a coherent whole by contrasting with the flowers? Astonishing! Thanks for sharing, my dear Rebecca. 🙂

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Mary Jo. For me, Camille was the focus because I felt that I was begin welcomed as a guest to the garden. Instead of a two dimensional object, there was a sense that viewers can walk into the painting. Yes – Monet was a genius with colour. The colour blue brings a refreshing coolness to a hot summer’s day. I am enjoying looking into the background of paintings – each one has a story.

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