En plein air – Claude Monet in Giverny

Excerpts from the book “Flowers for Monet”

Don’t we all long to live like flowers, alive with perfect beauty? The work of Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) is a seed that has firmly taken root in the world’s artistic heritage. As an artist and editor of intercultural art books, the occasion of Monet’s 180th birthday and my visit at his garden in Giverny inspired me to create an homage for him – in the form of a book featuring flower paintings. Flowers possess a lyrical aura; trees are said to be antennae connected with the universe. Rejoicing in the beauty of a flower or a picturesque landscape often makes us feel like we, ourselves, are bursting into bloom. Every flower has a “deva”, a “higher spirit” possessing a mysterious power of attraction that can be further intensified by the spiritual aura of artworks. Like Claude Monet’s Giverny, like his paintings, this gift book, too, emanates its own, unique scent. While the subtle color shades of flowers often exceed our imagination, artworks and poems have one advantage over them: They do not wilt. We can lean back and enjoy their emotionally charged beauty any time. “Flowers for Monet”, however, is not a printed florilegium, but a garden designed as an homage inspired by poetic spirit. In the broadest sense, flower paintings are also gifts of nature, because the aura of the flowers is reflected in their artistic expression – we may discover it in the artists’ delicacy of style, or in their pursuit of botanical precision. Equally, flower paintings, like Dutch vanitas still lifes, may be inspired by the unstoppable decay of nature. My selection of haiku poems was doubtlessly influenced by the lyrical poetry of Claude Monet’s own œuvre.

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