Saturday, February 6, 2010
Claude's ravishing love Camille
Again, we have a portrait by Renoir who was their close family friend and often stayed with Claude and Camille in one of their brief periods of prosperity when they lived not in a few dingy rooms but in a proper house in the suburb of Argenteuil only a little outside Paris.
People called her "la volaille Monet" (Monet's bird) or "La Monette." According to a friend, everyone was charmed by her...except of course Claude's father who chose not to meet her as he was against his son's involvement with any woman until Claude's income was steadier. She was a ravishing creature, the friend said, full of kindness and grace. Surely though it was hard for her to never know if she would be have fine wines and lovely dresses one month and be facing water and the pawn shop the next!
I saw her as very complex. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the most complete study of her to date is by Ruth Butler in her book "Hidden in the Shadow of the Master." Another study will be published late summer: "Monet and His Muse: Camille Monet in the Artist's Life" by Mary Mathews Gedo. I feel Claude never got over her early loss and, in his own way, searched for her all his life. He kept a portrait of her in his bedroom until he died. We will see what Ms. Gedo says!