Claude Monet at Work in His Famous Garden at Giverny: Rare Film from 1915

in Art | July 19th, 2012

Yesterday we showed you some startling footage of an elderly, arthritic Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painting with horribly deformed hands. Today we offer a more idyllic image of a French Impressionist painter in his golden years: Claude Monet on a sunny day in his beautiful garden at Giverny.

Once again, the footage was produced by Sacha Guitry for his project Ceux de Chez Nous, or “Those of Our Land.” It was shot in the summer of 1915, when Monet was 74 years old. It was not the best time in Monet’s life. His second wife and eldest son had both died in the previous few years, and his eyesight was getting progressively worse due to cataracts. But despite the emotional and physical setbacks, Monet would soon rebound, making the last decade of his life (he died in 1926 at the age of 86) an extremely productive period in which he painted many of his most famous studies of water lilies.

At the beginning of the film clip we see Guitry and Monet talking with each other. Then Monet paints on a large canvas beside a lily pond. It’s a shame the camera doesn’t show the painting Monet is working on, but it’s fascinating to see the great artist all clad in white, a cigarette dangling from his lips, painting in his lovely garden.

Related Content:

Impressionist Painter Edgar Degas Takes a Stroll in Paris, 1915

Rare Film of Sculptor Auguste Rodin Working at His Studio in Paris (1915)

Watch Henri Matisse Sketch and Make His Famous Cut-Outs (1946)


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Comments (21)

  1. Christina says . . .
    July 19, 2012 / 12:21 pm

    You do see the painting in the long shot.

  2. Lauren says . . .
    July 20, 2012 / 5:08 pm

    Yes, the front of the picture is visible in the long shot, and in size and composition matches up with the Late Water Lily Paintings, like this one:

  3. Pierre Clouthier says . . .
    July 21, 2012 / 5:24 am

    Why couldn’t the film be digitally slowed down to 16 frames/sec., the way it was originally shot, to make the movement more natural instead of looking sped-up?

  4. Video says . . .
    July 21, 2012 / 12:25 pm

    Video can’t be viewed from Germany, because it contains music from EMI. Bastards!

  5. Matt says . . .
    July 23, 2012 / 6:22 am

    Why is it even a video? I can’t view it as I don’t have Flash installed either. Surely an image would suffice?

  6. Leslie says . . .
    June 24, 2013 / 8:50 pm

    Could someone please tell me the name of the music being played and its composer?

  7. jansumi says . . .
    December 4, 2013 / 12:33 am

    Chopin 2nd Concerto.n

  8. Camille Cooper says . . .
    June 25, 2013 / 7:37 am

    Leslie, I asked an opera singer friend of mine; it’s Trois Gymnopédies: 1. Lent et douloureux by Erik Satie.

  9. Ana says . . .
    June 26, 2013 / 2:17 am

    This precious film was shown in a recent exhibit of Monet’s work at the St. Louis Art Museum, and I am so grateful to see it again.
    I once spent a day in Monet’s garden and this film reminds me of how important that place was to him: A riot of flowers wherever he turned, a pink house with a green door and a yellow dining room. A great studio with high ceiling and skylights and walls large enough to hold the water lily series .. Across the road the pond flowed under the trees and the bridges dripped with wisteria vines.
    How wonderful to see Monet at his work and the little dog at his feet.

  10. CTJPMarie says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 11:17 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience and musings…They are just as wonderful as the film! :)

  11. Eric Sarner says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 1:41 am

    I am pretty sure that the gentleman talking to Monet is actor and filmmaker Sacha Guitry.

  12. logs says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 3:21 am

    No, the music is not Satie, not by several decades. Gymnopedies is totally different. It’s either Liszt or Schumann, can’t quite recall which…

  13. Neil Coffey says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 7:58 am

    It’s the second movement of Chopin’s Concierto no 2.

  14. logs says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 3:23 am

    No, Chopin, of course!

  15. HermanT says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 6:46 am

    Man, people smoked a lot…

  16. CTJPMarie says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 11:16 am

    OMG…sooooooooo wonderful!!!

  17. France Mitrofanoff says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    Ce document est magnifique et tru00e8s u00e9mouvant .

  18. Tweetysvoice says . . .
    December 3, 2013 / 10:10 pm
  19. liza says . . .
    March 22, 2014 / 8:30 am

    Thanks so much for posting this! It’s wonderful to see him at work.

  20. Randy Griffin says . . .
    July 22, 2014 / 2:57 pm

    Possible painting: w1803 Water Lilies, 1914-17


  21. Liz Forsyth says . . .
    November 16, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    Wonderful film. One of our favourite films is the BBC series ‘The Impressionists’ (well worth finding and watching)
    My favourite quote in it is from Cezanne, eventually found by a gallery owner painting his mountain ,’ I’m busy, and will be for the rest of my life.’ Bless them all for their wonderful obsessions and their eyes.

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