Claude Monet’s palettes were inspired by his love of nature and his lush Giverny gardens. With the introduction of paint in tubes, like toothpaste, artists no longer had to grind and mix pigment powders with linseed oil. At the same time, in the 1870’s, the portable French box easel was invented allowing Monet to paint en plein air, “in the open air,” where his paintings became a careful exploration of color and mood.
“When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you…”
But Monet’s deep appreciation of color wasn’t limited to the outdoors. Step into his kitchen and you’ll find that sunlight yellow bathes not only his walls, but the tables, chairs. The tiles and even the dishes brighten the space with vibrant blues, the color of sky and water.
A dinner invitation from the Monet’s meant fresh fruits and vegetables from his gardens or chickens and provisions from farmhouses in the area. It meant enjoying a beautifully prepared meal, perhaps from one of the food journals he kept. He was famous for gathering recipes from friends during his travels and from the great restaurants he patronized. Monet entertained writers, actors and artists including Cézanne who shared with Monet his special recipe for bouillabaisse, and Millet who gave him his recipe for rolls. His delicious apple Tarte Tatin came from the Tatin sisters themselves.