Giverny | American painters and Claude Monet

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Giverny | American painters and Claude Monet

The fate of the American painters in Giverny was not yet determinated.
L. Metcalf, painter of the Julian workshop was a pioneer and led the way.Attracted to the scenic area of Vernon, admiring natural surroundings, he arrived in Giverny on a fine spring day, the apple trees were in bloom. He was so impressed by the beauty of the area that he wanted to sleep there and, as there was no hotel, he knocked at the door of the grocer’s shop. Mrs. Baudy opened the door. She told thereafter many and many times her fright when she saw this giant stranger, bearded to his eyes, asking for a room in a terrible gibberish. She only had her bed, and turned him away, double-locking the door.
A few months later, haunted by this delighted nature, he came back with friends of his workshop, but this time with his painting equipment, and decided, to sleep in Giverny, at whatever cost. Touched, Mrs Baudy gave up her room and stayed at a neighbor’s house. The day after she cooked for them and Theodore Wandel, Bruce, Taylor John Breck painted evening and morning with Metcalf. During this lunch they learned that Claude Monet lived in the neighboring regions. The connection was made between the French and Americans painters. They returned working at Julian, coming back each week end with other friends, also large, also bearded and also happy.
In 1887, the following year, Theodore Robinson worked with Watson, an English man coming from Saint-Louis ( U.SA.) and Dice, a Scottish.
Being successful with her business, Mrs Baudy set up rooms, the grocer’s shop become a hotel, full of joyous people lit up by the kerosene lamp.
She became fond of those big cheerful children, full of life, who teased, drank heavily and sang. The walls of the refreshment bar were covered by paintings. The lodging was cheap, but even not one of the painters could not pay his bill. “ You will pay next time « says Mrs Baudy and the painter left his paintings in deposit. Dice, a Scottish painter dressed in a kilt encourages everyone to dance festively to bagpipe music. The reputation of the hotel also begins to attract other painters of the academy Julian : Theodore Butler wasa thin and gangling boy, smartly dressed, and Durand-Ruel recognized that he was setting the tone for the Americans.

Impressed by the environment, he stayed in Giverny for the rest of his life, Carl Beckwith joined the group. Mrs Baudy do not know which way to turn, her son and her daughter in law started to help her to make the job easier she got from the famous Foinet from Paris ( at the présent day Lefebvre, rue Vavin ) some paints and paintbrushes. Dice, the Scottish, finding the tea atrocious got some from England andtaught the ritual to Mrs Baudy.He spent his time singing, drinking, laughing, and playing bagpipes, nobody ever saw him working. However, in the festive evenings, the group painted from nature. The garden sun decorated the fields, and Monet, alone, settled in Giverny to have some peace and quiet is unhappy. His daughter in law, misses Hoschede, does not share his opinion, pleased to have left the little house of Vetheuil.On days of festivities, Suzanne, the younger, dances with Butler.Radinsky (whose paintings are actually well known in Czech republic) has just arrived, plays piano all night long, and Dice teaches them the jig.
During 1888, Willard, Emma, Cherry, L.L. France, all painters, come to spend weeks in Giverny. According to the impressionist techniques, many painters worked in divided styles and brush strokes However, some are still attached to the academic school.Also, Mrs Baudy sets up a painting workshop in the garden of her hôtel. So that they can work with good lighting. The painters are so happy in Giverny that they even remain in winter.
Christmas Eve celebrations are joyfull.Disse brings puddings from England, and in the meadows flooded by the Epte, and covered with ice, the painters organize a magic night. Chinese lanterns hang from the willows like fantastic fruits, and on this dream skating rink, shadows twirl with whistling ice skates .Suzanne Hoschede laught and is pushed by a sledge built for the circumstance. At midnight all the skaters celebrate Christmas Eve in a nearby house. It’s an American Christmas with a traditional ham and turkey.
At this time, in Paris, there was a satirical publication called « le courrier francais « .the Americans reply to it, publishing with primitive means, le < Courrier innocent ».Watson is the Publisher and Richard Hovey, a new painter, covers the pages with poetic eloquence and full illustrations.

In 1891, while Monet, surrounded by paintings ( one for each lighting ), is painting the famous Grainstacks, Mac Monnies, the sculptor, set up his workshop. He bought the house in 1902 and went there regularly until his death.

From 1890 to 1900, when the pioneers go back to America, others take their place, rent houses, convert disused barns into workshops. The art critic Robert Chambers comes to study, C.C Rheinhaert, a specialist in art history, rents a villa, Murray Cabb, Louise Robins Richard, S.W. Nicolle, W. Dewb Urst, Olivier Herford, and Clinton Peters spend several months and paint paintings one after another.It’s a continuous comings and goings of Americans who start to move to Giverny. In 1892, Butler marries Suzanne Hoschédé, his favorite dancer, and buys a charming house.Ernest Peixoto, a young artist, comes several summers in a row, and until 1940, manages the School of Fine Arts of Fontainebleau.

From 1900 to 1910, there is a stream of writers and painters. Greacen who works in the style of the impressionists, spends a few years in Giverny. Others come during the week ends, and some permanently settle down : Young in 1899 buys a mill and transforms it in a charming american cottage, Finn already sick, starts a renovation that Butler will finish after his death, Rose ; in 1904 Johnston comes in a boat with his wife and buys a house.
Miss Wheeler establishes a school of painting in the « Hameau « , where American young girls come to work outdoors and study drawing using live models. It’s easy to find the latter, because for the past few years, each summer they arrive from Paris, to pose in the gardens and the workshops. Others are rented on the weekend and in the evening at Mrs. Baudy or in private houses, they dance with the painters. Millet celebrates the agricultural work and the inhabitants of Giverny are sketched, portrayed all day long.Girls of Giverny pose too, idylls are formed. Louise, the dandelions hunter, a charming girl becomes a model, marries Radinsky and goes to Czechoslovakia. So many years later, it’s always emotional to see again, in the private collections or by chance in attics, all the portraits of the men of those Days.The story of a village unfolding beneath your eyes. Giverny is rapidly expanding and Claude Monet, who became a venerated master,and whose success exceeded allhopes, goes on painting his dream.His garden is an absolute enchantment of colors, where the flowers are replaced as soon as they fade ; planted in tight mass or isolated, distinguished, in a japanese way, flowers are falling down from the trees like grapevine.
In 1900 he carved out a pond, creating a brook where the water lilies are sun-kissed. Claude Monet spent his days there, far from tiresome, he worked all day and into the evening, capturing the light. However he was not alone, he had visitors inclufind his friend Clemenceau, the tall Sargent he met in 1870 when he was in London, who visited often, and Gustave Geffroy, whom he greatly admired, Octave Mirbeau, who wants to be closer to his friend Monet, rents the castle of the Madeleine 15 kms from Giverny. Even the dissatisfied Cezanne, who in 1894 spent a few days at Baudy, disappears one fine morning leaving his paintings.
His friend Pissaro lives in Eragny, upstream from the Epte, where Monet pops over to meet him.Renoir, his neighbor from la Roche-Guyon, left Normandy for good to move to the sunny midi.Monet misses him a lot, he was a friend since the beginning day.Apart from those chosen visits, he does not see anybody,his door is closed to the other painters.He is determined to paint in peace. However the village became a center with diverse personalities. The famous American dancer Isadora Duncan spent some week ends at Revert, another small hôtel. At the entrance of the village, in Manitot , Mr Boyer, the owner of a farm, sets up a boxing ring, where the young Carpentier get ready for his boxing matches.You can see him each morning, practicing « shadowboxing » or walking on the road. He often comes to Baudy to have a glass of Vittel before heading back.
At the request of her American customers, the grocer imports specialties from their country. The French are surprised to discover in the grocer’s shop the size of a Pocket handkerchief, stocks some marshmallows, marmelade and maple syrup. Mr. Butler’s children are already grown up when the war of 1914 breaks out . Most of them return home.Some will fight with our people. After the war ended, the americans return to their houses.The others will not cross the ocean and will not forget the village with a peaceful existence and they regularly send news. At the end of each year, the postman’s mailbox fills with Christmas-cards. In 1919, tourists across the Atlantic come in droves to visit France and its battlefields. The Dome and the Rotonde become the artist’s head quarter. Many reflect on this happy period, when the days were dedicated to working, the evenings to never-ending discussions, or parties.
People came for various reasons: sometimes to stir the memory or to cool the body.For some it was watching the swans of Tod Robbin’s pond, other times Tod himself, a boxer, presented boxing matches, showcasing his strength when fighting his opponent. He lived in a charming property by a pond, accessible by a little bridge with no guardrail In the private houses where the American painters settled with their families in Giverny, it was easy not easy to feel welcomed.Garden parties had « great genre « .In the flowered gardens the atmosphere of « Virginie « was recreated, only the crinolines missed. Most of the guests were used to speaking English. A French summer vacationer said guileless:
« To belong to the Giverny’s society, you have to speak English, and I add that you have to eat American food. » I often made a face in front of the mulled wine, anchovies cakes or the dates with Roquefort !
Garden parties were unforgettable and often ended with sad and nostalgic songs. They sung the « spirituals « with a deep voice like hymns, and the expatriates thought of their country that they may not ever see again. Indeed some of their fellow countrymen were buried in the little cemetery of Giverny, Georges Aschley, whitmann, Sarah Aschley, Perkins, Middleton. However several people continue to go to Giverny, from the young literary to the « flamboyant ».
« The new school of the Surealists ,Breton, Drieu La Rochelle, Tristan Tzara, Michel Legris, took by storm the village with lyricism and poetry. The French artists mixed with Americans with a real camaraderie. Many came from 1918 to 1930.Mrs Baudy who lost her husband in 1896, continued managing the hotel, helped by her son and her daughter in law. All the week ends were full. She knew how to please her customers : tea prepared according to the ritual ( Dice would not have recognized it )and Welsh rarebit .M. Young and Janet Scudder built a tennis court in front of the hotel, where continuous sets were played, without a break, in spite of the scorching heat. Outside, the spectators watched the game; it was interesting that M. Young forgot to paint. His main Partner was De Wardener a Europeanized American, who loved France, and spoke slang like a Parisian from Belleville.
M.Johnston, a painter from the beginning, had a charming house where he spent the summers :he left France in winter with regret. Mac Monnies’s Family regularly crossed the ocean to stay during the summer at the old farm of monks, furnished in Louis XIII style. M. Butler, surrounded by his family, continued to paint the enchantment of days. But on December 5th, 1926, Giverny went into mourning.Claude Monet the Master sadly died and was buried in the little cemetery of Giverny, carried by his gardeners. Clemenceau, with a frozen face, followed the body of his old friend

The year 1929 brings the most important stock market crash that America never knew : Americans without resources leave Paris and Giverny.A few owners stay, they don’t want to leave the village and the France they love. Mrs Baudy sell the Hotel to retire in a neighboring house. She spent her final days among her memories, enjoying paintings given to her by the painters she so admired. Loved and cherished by this special “ second family”,who didn’t forget her, she died on September 6th, 1942, during the German occupation, without having the joy of being delivered by the Americans.

• Translation by Sandrine Chifman

Theodore Wendel
“Automne à Giverny“ (La nouvelle lune) 1889,
huile sur toile, 130,8 x 215,9 cm
Midway, Ohio.
Ipswich, Massachusetts.
1876-1877 Formation artistique à la McMicken School of Design de Cincinnati
1878-1880 Elève à l’académie royale de Munich où il se lie d’amitié avec l’artiste Frank Duveneck.
Voyages en Europe notamment à Polling en Bavière, à Florence et Venise.
1886-1887 Elève à l’Académie Julian à Paris. Séjourne à Giverny en 1886, 1887 et 1888.
1888 Retour aux Etats-Unis.
1889 Exposes des paysages impressionnistes à Boston.
1892-1897 Vit à Boston. Enseigne à la Cowles Art School et à Wellesley College.
1898 S’installe dans une ferme à Ipswich (Massachusetts) et peint des paysages.
Expose régulièrement à Boston, New York et Philadelphie.

Louis Ritter
“Saules et ruisseau à Giverny“ (détails) 1887, huile sur toile, 65,7 x 54,3 CM
New York
1873-1874 Formation artistique à la McMicken School of Design de Cincinnati.
Vers 1875 Réalise des lithographies.
1878-1880 Elève à l’académie royale de Munich où il se lie d’amitié avec l’artiste Frank Duveneck.
Voyages en Europe notamment à Polling en Bavière, à Florence et Venise.
1881-1885 Vit deux ans à Cincinnati puis à Boston.
1885 Séjourne à Barbizon.
1887 Séjourne et peint à Giverny.
1888 Séjourne à Florence
1889 Retour à Boston. Enseigne au Wellesley College.
Expose régulièrement au St. Botolph Club et à la Watercolor Society de Boston.

Willard Leroy Metcalf
“L’Epte, Giverny“ 1887, huile sur toile, 31,1 x 40,3 cm
New York
1874 Formation Artistique à la Massachusetts Normal Art School de Boston puis l’année suivante élève de George Loring Brown.
1877-1878 Elève au Lowell Institute.
1879-1883 Actif en Nouvelle Angleterre et au Nouveau Mexique.
1883-1889 Elève à l’Académie Julian 0 Paris. Séjours estivaux en Bretagne et Normandie, probablement à Giverny en 1885 et 1886.
Années 1890 Poursuit une carrière d’illustrateur à New york.
1890-1891 Enseigne à l’Art Students League.
1893-1903 Enseigne à la Cooper Union School of Art.
1897 Membre fondateur du Groupe des Dix.
1903-1925 Séjourne et peint en Nouvelle-Angleterre.

Theodore Robinson
“Arbres en fleurs à Giverny“ 1891-93, huile sur toile, 54,9 x 51,1 cm
New York
1869-1870 Formation artistique à Chicago.
1874-1875 Elève à l’Art Student League et à la National Academy of Design de New York.
1876 Premier séjour à Paris. Elève de Carolus-Duran puis de Jean-Léon Gérôme à l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Voyage en Italie où il rencontre James A. McNeill Whistler.
1879-1884 Retour aux Etats-Unis (New York), Boston, Nantucket).
Réalise des illustrations pour le Harpers Weeckly et assiste le peintre John La Farge pour des décorations murales.
1884-1892 Vit en France (Paris, Barbizon, Cernay-la-Ville et Grez-sur-Loing) mais séjourne régulièrement aux Etats-Unis. S’installe à Giverny en 1887, et se lie d’amitié avec Claude Monet. Retour à New York en 1892.
1894 Fait partie de la colonie d’artistes de Cos Cob (Connecticut).
1895 Première exposition personnelle à la galerie Macbeth de New York.

John Leslie Breck
“ Jardin à Giverny“ (Dans le jardin de Monet) 1887, huile sur toile, 46 x 55,6 cm
Près de Hong-Kong
1879-1882 Après une enfance à Newton (Massachusetts),
Breck s’inscrit à l’Académie royale des Beaux-Arts de Munich pour trois ans puis est élève de C. Verlat à Anvers.
1883-1886 Peint des paysages dans le Massachusetts.
1886-1887 Elève à l’Académie Julian à Paris.
1887-1891 Passe l’été 1887 à Giverny et y retourne régulièrement.
Est admis dans la clan Monet-Hoschedé avant d’en être écarté en 1891
suite à une romance avec Blanche Hoschedé, la belle-fille de Claude Monett.
1889 Obtient une mention “honorable“ à l’Exposition Universelle de Paris pour so tableau “Automne à Giverny“(La Nouvelle Lune)
1890 Première exposition personnelle au St. Botolph Club de Boston.
1891 Peint une série de meules inspirées des œuvres de Claude Monet.
Quitte Giverny pour l’Angleterre puis la Californie et retourne enfin auprès de sa famille à Boston.

Lilla Cabot Perry
“Après-midi d’automne, Giverny“ huile sur toile, 65,4 x 81 cm
New Hampshire
1884-1885 Elève à la Cowles Art School de Boston
auprès des peintres de plein air Robert Vonnoh et Dennis Miller Bunker.
1887-1889 Séjour à Paris avec son mari, le professeur Thomas Sergeant Perry,
et leurs trois enfants. Elle étudie à l’Académie Colarossi et à l’Académie Julian.
1888 Début d’une longue amitié avec Claude Monet.
1889 Première œuvre exposée au Salon.
1889-1899 Séjours estivaux avec sa famille à Giverny, d’abord à l’hôtel Baudy,
puis dans des maisons louées, l’une d’elles voisine de celle de Monet.
Elle est alors intégrée au cercle familial du peintre français et devient l’amie de nombreux artistes de la colonie.
Réside principalement à Boston, où elle promeut, grâce à des expositions, les œuvres de ces derniers et de Monet.
1898-1901 Séjour à Tokyo avec son mari qui y enseigne la littérature anglaise.
1905-1909 Retour à Giverny chaque été. Elle est également l’auteur de quatre ouvrages de poésie.

Theodore Earl Butler
“Les enfants de l’artiste, James et Lili“ 1896, huile sur toile, 116,8 x 115,6 cm
Colombus, Ohio
1884-1886 Elève de William Merritt Chase à l’Art Students League de New York
1887 Se rend à Paris et s’inscrit dans plusieurs académies. Il est aussi l’élève de Carolus-Duran.
1888 Il accompagne Theodore Wendel à Giverny et loge à l’hôtel Baudy.
Il s’installe au village et devient l’ami de Claude Monet.
1892 Epouse Suzanne Hoschedé, bell-fille de Monet.
1893-1894 Naissance de leurs enfants James et Alice.
1897 Première exposition personnelle à la galerie Vollard à Paris.
Expose régulièrement à Paris par la suite.
1899 Décès de Suzanne.
1900 Epouse Marthe, la soeur de Suzanne.
1913 Les Butler se rendent à New York, l’artiste ayant reçu plusieurs commandes de panneaux décoratifs.
Plusieurs expositions personnelles, dont une à l’Amory Show.
1918-1921 Membre fondateur de la Society of Independant Artists.
1921 Retour à Giverny.

Frederick Carl Frieseke
“L’heure du thé à Giverny“ 1911, huile sur toile, 66 x 82,1 cm
Owosso, Michigan
Le Mesnil-sur-Blangy, France
1893-1895 Elève à l’Art Institute bof Chicago.
1896-1897 Etudie à l’Art Students League de New York.
1897-1898 S’installe à Paris et s’inscrit à l’Académie Julian
dans l’atelier de Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant et Jean-Paul Laurens.
Il est aussi l’élève de James McNeill Whistler à l’Académie Carmen.
1900 Première visite à Giverny.
1905 Epouse SArah O’Bryan.
1906-1919 Les Frieseke s’installent à Giverny
1909 Exposition personnelle à la Biennale de Venise.
1911 Il peint Les lys et l’Heure du thé à Giverny.
1912 Il peint Femme dans un jardin
1914 Obtient le Grand prix à la Panama-Pacific International Exposition de San Francisco.
1920 Déménage au Mesnil-sur-Blanguy. Nommé chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Frederick et Mary MacMonnies
“Mabel Conkling“
1904, huile sur toile, 219,7 x 114,3 cm (Frederick MacMonnies)
Frederick William
New York

Mary Louise Fairchild
MacMonnies (puis Low)

New Haven,
Bronxville, New York
1880-1883 Mary Louise Fairchild est élève à la Saint Louis School of Fine Arts dans la Missouri.
1880-1884 Frederick William MacMonnies se forme à New York auprès du sculpteur Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
1885-1888 Mary Louise Fairchild reçoit une bourse de trois ans.
S’installe à Paris et s’inscrit à l’Académie Julian.
1886 Après deux années à l’Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Munich,
MacMonnies intègre l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris dans l’atelier de Jean Alexandre Falguière.
1888 Mary Louise Fairchild et Frederick William MacMonnies se marient
et partagent un atelier à Montparnasse.
1889 Mary obtient une médaille de bronze à l’Exposition universelle de Paris
pour son Autoportrait tandis que Frederick remporte une mention “honorable“ avec Salon avec Diane.

“Dans la nursery“ 1897-98, huile sur toile, 81,3 x 43,2 cm (Mary MacMonnies)
1890 Premier séjour du couple à Giverny.
1895 Location de la villa Bêsche à Giverny. Naissance de leur premier enfant,
Berthe Hélène (connue sous le nom de Betty). Frederick enseigne à l’Académie Vitti.
1896 Frederick est nommé Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
Entre 1896 et 1906, il se consacre de plus en plus à ses peintures.
1897 Naissance de Marjorie Eudora, leur deuxième fille.
La même année naît Robertson Ward, le fils illégitime de Frederick avec Helen Gordon Glenn.
1898 Les MacMonnies s’installent à Giverny, au Prieuré (rebaptisé Le Moutier en 1960).
Frederick enseigne à l’Académie Carmen, mais aussi chez lui à Paris et à Giverny.
1899 Naissance de leur troisième enfant, Ronald, qui meurt deux ans plus tard.
1906 Mary devient membre associé de la National Academy of Design.
1909 Divorce. Mary épouse le peintre Will Low, avec qui elle retourne vivre aux Etats-Unis.
1910 Mariage de Frederick avec l’une de ses anciennes élèves, Alice Jones.
1915 Frederick quitte la France pour New York
1916-1932 Il réalise Le Mémorial de la bataille de la Marne,
commande publique offerte à la France par les Etats-Unis en remerciement de la Statue de la Liberté de Gustave Bartholdi.
1933 MacMonnies est nommé commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur.