Sunday, March 27, 2011

a new documentary on Monet: MONET'S PALATE

I am always surprised and delighted at how many things one can discover on the web, and the other day I came across a Facebook page for this documentary about Monet's food and gardens and paintings, featuring many great chefs with an introduction by Meryl Streep herself. MONET's PALATE, shot entirely in Paris, London and Giverny, includes exclusive footage of Monet's home in Normandy where he lived for over 40 years, including shots of the dining room where he entertained guests such as Marcel Proust and Paul Cezanne. The documentary also features Monet's paintings on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a select group of world famous chefs like Daniel Boulud, Alice Waters, Michel Richard and Roger Vergé prepare Monet's favorite meals.

Also see Monet's Palate (the general website) for all sorts of wonderful things about the movie, the meals, the creators of the film.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Did Alice really destroy all of Camille's letters? A 19th century soap opera!

A recent article in the Guardian has declared that Monet's second wife, Alice, destroyed all of the personal papers of Monet's first wife and muse, the lovely Camille, who died at the age of 32 from cancer. The whole situation of Monet's relationship with Alice Hoschede, his patron's wife, is shrouded in mystery to this day, I told the story as I believed it in CLAUDE & CAMILLE, and yet it was strange even to the Parisians of the day. When Alice's wealthy husband became bankrupt, Monet took Alice and her six children to live with him in his drafty house forty miles from Paris. Some people say he was already her lover, but it would be strange for Alice cared for the dying Camille, even arranging a Catholic wedding for Claude and Camille a few days before she died. Was this then the woman who supposed destroyed poor Camille's personal papers? If so she was a complicated woman indeed! She left diaries but they are unpublished. I would love to read them. Book clubs often ask me how much of the novel is true. How can you look into the complicated heart of anyone, and be clear about what they did in private more than 130 years ago? Or maybe when Alice and Claude moved in haste to Giverny, they left Camille's papers behind along with many unpaid bills...

The picture of Alice is by Carulus-Duran who also painted Claude Monet when they were both students; it was painted when Alice was still a wealthy woman in her chateau, never dreamingof falling in love with a painter who would remove her to the remote town of Giverny.