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Let them say: Claude Monet's friends about what culinary specialist, singer, family man and genius he was

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Claude Monet wrote hundreds of letters and gave dozens of interviews. But he never expounded the theories of art and never taught others how to live. He wrote about weather, color of the sky, about his daily wins and the despair, told his wife how he loved her, worried about the children, about the flowers in his garden. When Claude Monet was asked to write the foreword to the catalogue of Rodin’s works, he got away with a few lines and declared: "You know what I think of him, but to express it well, I would need a talent that I do not possess; writing is not my trade…" But Monet himself was surrounded by talented poets, writers, artists and true friends who left about him funny, touching and enthusiastic memories.
Claude Monet. Biscuits
Biscuits
1882, 65×81 cm
Claude Monet. Still life with pumpkin, peaches and grapes
Claude Monet. Still life with meat
"Mr. Monet ate quite a lot, but was very selective. He had a whole bunch of books about cookery and flipped them for a long time, looking for the recipe of some dishes, which then asked me to cook. For example, he was very fond of mushrooms, especially those that Mr Michel gathered in the forest himself. He also liked asparagus, but very lightly cooked, half-baked".
Anne Prévost, one of the last artist’s cooks

"Salads he liked to season himself- and in what a manner! He would fill the spoon with ground black peppercorns, coarse salt, a lot of olive oil and a little wine vinegar, all well mixed up, and then douse the salad with the contents, making it almost black. Once it had been treated like this, the only people who could eat it were Monet and my sister Blanche, who always ate whatever he did".
Jean-Pierre Hoschede, Monet’s stepson

"One of the dogs of Maurice Rollinat (French poet — ed.) was named Pistol. He immediately recognized Monet and stayed by his side the whole time with the most noble intentions. Apparently, he was afraid that the artist was in danger, and felt it was his duty to protect him. Every evening, he accompanied him to the hotel door, and in the morning he appeared at the appointed hour there, lied down on the carpet on the doorstep and patiently waiting friend. The image of Monet permanently imprinted in the memory of the dog. After his departure Rollinat sometimes addressed his dog with a question:
— Where's Mr. Monet?
And poor Pistol, perked up his ears, began to whirl in place, jump up and plaintive yapping like crying…"
Gustave Geffroy, art critic

"As soon as it became aware of his arriving, it came the time of impatient anticipation of the meeting for us. We waited for him for many reasons: I wanted to see him again and look at new paintings (of course, if he agreed to show them), and, of course, get the gifts, because he never forgot any of us and used to bring something to everyone. There were incredibly delicious macaroons from Aix-en-Provence, nets and snares of horsehair for catching birds from Etretat…"
Jean-Pierre Hoschedé
Клод Моне и Алиса Ошеде с детьми, 1880.
"In conversation he was not a very easy person. When he walked past our house, in his waistcoat thrown over his shoulders, tied behind his back, my father always greeted him: "Good afternoon, Mr. Monet! How do you do " — but the only answer was:" Gr-rr … Gaston … "In those days, when he was in a bad mood, and looked from under his eyebrows, it was not necessary to greet him — he still did not answer to anyone!"
Madame Bruno, the owner of the hotel in Giverny

"Oh God, how he hated the so-called decorative arts — right through artificial. His horrified by all of these fakes: rocks with waterfalls, giant concrete mushrooms allegedly growing under the trees, columns, statues, mutilated bushes — I mean the ones that are constantly trimmed to give them the shape of a cube, a cone, an umbrella, and the and all of a Gallic cock! He could not stand the flower compositions in the form of a mosaic pansies, daisies, heliotrope, ageratum and other bad taste, without, in his opinion, all beauty, precisely because there is nothing natural about it. Naturalness is what he valued most in the world!"
Jean-Pierre Hoschedé
Takeko Kuroki, granddaughter of Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Matsukata, Claude Monet, his niece Alice (Lily) Butler, stepdaughter Blanche Hoschedé-Monet and French statesman Georges Clemenceau. Giverny, 1921.
"He was not one of easiest persons. For example, he hated having to wait. If anything went wrong, he started at once banging on the floor with his stick, or even waving it around. As soon as he appeared, we knew something unusual has been going to happen now. Once day, it was in 1921, he brought us a check for nine hundred thousand francs, signed by the Japanese emperor’s sister!"
Marseille Ronserel, an employee of the bank "Société Générale"

"Monet have always admired his son, even though they barely spoke. "Hi, Monet," - said Claude to the son and the answer was: "Hello, Monet." The conversation was ended to resume on the eve of parting. "Good-bye, Monet. — Good-bye, Monet. "My parents, having witnessed one of these scenes decided that they were upset with each other, or simply in a quarrel, and demanded an explanation of Blanche.
— Oh, they just adore each other, — she said. — They just do not feel need for idle chatter. They both hate to utter platitudes".
Henri Duberville
"Monet was very fond of reading, especially in winter, in the evenings. He preferred to read aloud. His literary tastes were very different. Among his favorite authors were The Goncourt brothers (Edmond and Jules), Octave Mirbeau, Flaubert, Gustave Geffroy, Émile Zola, Leo Tolstoy, Jules Renard, Ibsen, Clemenceau, Maeterlinck, Lucien Dean and many others. As I remember, he also read "History of France" by Michelet, "Memoirs" by Saint-Simon. Yet he was very fond of " Journal of Delacroix (Arts & Letters)…"
Jean-Pierre Hoschedé

"It was during winter, after several snowy days. It was cold enough to split rocks. We glimpsed a little heater, then an easel, then a gentleman swathed in three overcoats, with gloved hands, his face half-frozen. It was M. Monet studying an aspect of the snow. Yes, to be sure, the army of art has its brave soldiers!"
Léon Billot, journalist of "Journal du Havre"
Claude Monet. Forty
Forty
1869, 89×130 cm
"To get along with him was not easy. It’s good that I faced with him rarely, and mostly dealt with Madame Blanche, sewing dresses for her. I saw him from a distance, as he walked through the garden to the pond. He was always grumbling at all, had such a cantankerous character! For example, I can not even tell what teeth he had — I have never seen him smile!"
Zelia Picard, served as a laundress in Giverny

"Sometimes he had abrupt changes of mood, and then life was becoming unbearable. He could get to his room, and we have not seen him all day, or even two. Everybody sat in silence at the table, being afraid to move, and the silence was broken only by the sound of forks on plates …
Fortunately, these times did not last long. If he was glad that another picture was a success, then he went out to dinner, singing loudly aria of matador from "Carmen." Or he composed on the same motif something like: "Let's go to the table! All at the table! Fried pigeons are good, while hot!"
Jean-Pierre Hoschedé
Клод Моне в Живерни, 1915.
"In the narrowed look there is something dishonest, like winks. Whereas Monet was really eye-banging the nature, objects. He constantly wanted as much as possible light any lamps seemed to him too weak. Once I heard a strange advice from him:
— - If you are looking at something for too long and want your eyes noted the main of what they saw, do so. Once again look closely at the landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
, and then sharply bend over and look between your legs.
And this magnificent old man of seventy, showing me an example, with remarkable flexibility had made the slope".
Sacha Guitry, the writer, actor, director

"It seems to me all around the world you will not find a man as perfect as he was. All his life from beginning to end is a continuous example of purity. Claude Monet could be proud of himself — he did never, in his personal life or in art, anything that would have deserved the slightest reproach.
I told him that he could be proud of himself, but as you can well imagine, it never occurred to him. Monet wasn’t ever bragging. HIs main difference from other people I encountered was that all of them were willing to give me advice, and Claude Monet showed an example. However, his life seemed extraordinarily simple. He watched, ate, smoked, walked, drank and listened. The rest of the time he was working.
In general, he always did two things — worked and lived".
Sacha Guitry
Claude Monet during the work on the installation with water lilies for the Orangerie Museum., 1923.
The title photo: Claude Monet, 1920

Collected by Anna Sydelnykova
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