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

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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by | Permalink | Comments (20) |

  • Christina

    You do see the painting in the long shot.

  • Lauren

    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:

  • Pierre Clouthier

    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?

  • Video

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

  • Matt

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

  • Leslie

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

  • Camille Cooper

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

  • Ana

    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.

  • Eric Sarner

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

  • logs

    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…

  • logs

    No, Chopin, of course!

  • HermanT

    Man, people smoked a lot…

  • Neil Coffey

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

  • CTJPMarie

    OMG…sooooooooo wonderful!!!

  • CTJPMarie

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

  • France Mitrofanoff

    Ce document est magnifique et tru00e8s u00e9mouvant .

  • Tweetysvoice
  • jansumi

    Chopin 2nd Concerto.n

  • liza

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

  • Randy Griffin

    Possible painting: w1803 Water Lilies, 1914-17