Saturday, July 17, 2010
Such very good friends! -- life among the impressionists
Here is the young Renoir curled up in a chair in his good pal Frederic Bazille's studio. One of the reasons I was compelled to write Claude and Camille: a novel of Monet was my fascination for the friendship among these then utterly unknown artists, particularly in the 1860s and 1870s when Monet had likely never heard of a water lily; he was fortunate to have a humble potted plant in the rooms he lived in! The young impressionists (who had never heard the word impressionists then either) slept on each others floors, painted the same model side by side, scrounged paint and scraped down canvases and shared dreams. It is interesting to me that often a creative person rises in a creative group. A fascinating nonfiction book is the Private Lives of the Impressionists. And a tender novel about Renoir which I recommended some months ago is Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party. Both capture the unique friendship of these talented men and women.