Today is the 96th anniversary of the death of the impressionist painter Claude Monet who died on this day in 1926 at the age of 86.
Monet had insisted on a simple funeral, and as such, his coffin was draped with plain black cloth.
His long-time friend Georges Clemenceau (pronounced kle-mon-so) removed it, stating, "No! No black for Monet!" He replaced it with a beautiful flower-patterned fabric.
Gardeners love Stephen Gwynn's 1934 book Claude Monet and his Garden. In 1883 Monet purchased a property, and he immediately set about creating a hidden water garden fashioned out of waste marshland. Monet made sure his lily pond was surrounded by trees and plants, incorporating poplars, willows, bamboo, and iris.
And, Monet's favorite plant and painting subject were, no doubt, his water lilies. Monet said,
"'I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
Monet painted his garden over the span of 40 years. In 1914, Monet began his most impressive work - a series of large panels that offered a 360-degree view of the pond. Monet worked on the panels all through the first World War.
It's was Monet who wrote:
“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, the exact color and shape.”
And it was Monet who said,
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”
“I must have flowers, always, and always.”