The Claude Monet Foundation at Giverny
In 1883 Claude Monet moved to Giverny, a small village in the Département of the Eure, in Normandy. Under the spell of the poetic setting, the Impressionist master acquired a handsome residence with grounds he laid out as a kind of "painting made with nature". In front of the house and the new studios he had built - notably the extensive Waterlily Studio - were the rectilinear "Clos Normand", where airy vaults of plants surrounded sumptuous clumps of shrubs; the luxuriant flowerbeds that inspired this "flower-mad" painter; and, lower down, the water garden formed by a branch of the Epte, with its famed Japanese bridge, weeping willows, wisteria, azaleas and pond: a tableau that gave birth to the pictorial world of Monet's famed Waterlilies.
In 1966 M. Michel Monet decided that the house, its collections and its grounds should become part of the Académie des Beaux-Arts' heritage. The master's carefully-planned garden having gradually become overgrown, the Académie, in conjunction with the Département's authorities and French and American patrons, embarked on the restoration programme whose success is now generally acknowledged.
Officially opened in 1980, the Giverny property gives the public access to Monet's everyday world, his collection of Japanese prints, his furniture, his studios - and above all the garden and surrounding countryside, the inspiration for the famous "series" that play such a part in the painter's reputation.
Giverny now contributes to the Académie's role as patron, with the opening of residential studios for young French and foreign students finding inspiration in Monet's work; be they painters, art historians or botanists, the presence of these young people gives the property a new function that would Monet would have found utterly appropriate.