Rare Footage From 1915 Captures Claude Monet Painting at His Gardens in Giverny

Watch Claude Monet Paint at Giverny in This Archival 1915 Video Footage

Screenshot from “Ceux de Chez Nous (Those of Our Land)” in 1915. (Photo: John Hall YouTube)

Claude Monet is one of the most famous painters of the past several centuries. His iconic, colorful images kickstarted the Impressionist movement. From sunrises over the water to everyday life in 19th-century Paris, Monet's work endures as iconic examples of French art. While people today can view his works on exhibit and tour his beloved gardens at Giverny, rare archival footage of Monet painting en plein air provides the ultimate insight into the famous artist's process.

This special moment is captured in silent film footage from 1915. Wearing a hat and sporting his trademark white beard, the elderly painter dabs away at a canvas in front of the rich flowering landscape of the pond at Giverny, which he so famously painted in his many water lily renditions. The painter was recorded by Sacha Guitry, a film director, who set out to capture French luminaries of art and culture for a film entitled Ceux de Chez Nous (Those of Our Land). This film was meant to demonstrate French culture in the face of the German enemy as World War I shattered the peace of places even like Giverny. Like many others, Monet was disturbed by the war, and both his stepson and son were fighting on the front.

As captured on film, Monet's genius in translating landscapes to canvas is bewitching. Even over a hundred years later, watching him at work is still mesmerizing. However, there are many other ways to bring a piece of Monet's legacy into your everyday life. For instance, a hand-crafted candle based on his water lily masterpieces reimagines the painting in a whole new way. Monet is also among the geniuses included in this card deck—which helps teach important art history facts.

Think you already know a lot about Monet? Take this quiz and find out.

Footage of Claude Monet painting in 1915 shows the artist among the flowers of his beloved Giverny in 1915.

Watch Claude Monet Paint at Giverny in This Archival 1915 Video Footage

Claude Monet, photographed by Nadar in 1899. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Monet, who died in 1926, was a vanguard of the Impressionist movement.

Impression, Soleil Levant, 1872

“Impression, Sunrise,” by Claude Monet, 1872. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

The video, entitled Ceux de Chez Nous (Those of Our Land), was made by director Sacha Guitry in 1915 to display French culture to the world.

Water Lillies

“Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge,” by Claude Monet, between 1897 and 1899. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Renoir, Degas, and Rodin are among the other luminaries in the film.

Giverny Bridge

Modern Giverny, preserved as Monet left it. (Photo: World3000 via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Watch Monet paint at Giverny.

Explore the full archival film, with sound added in 1952 based on recorded interviews during initial filming.

h/t: [Open Culture]

Related Articles:

How Female Painter Mary Cassatt Became an Important Impressionist Figure

How Impressionism Changed the Art World and Continues to Inspire Us Today

Exploring How Monet’s Famous ‘Haystacks’ Paintings Explored the Beauty of the Changing Seasons

Interview: Curator of the Largest Monet Exhibition in 20 Years Discusses Monumental Show

Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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