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Monet and Clemenceau: a friendship...

One of my favorite lectures is about the extraordinary friendship between Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929). I have always been fascinated by this unique relationship of mutual respect, admiration and unfailing support which lasted more than 40 years, to the point of writing a play which depicts the two men in the winter of their life.

Claude Monet et Georges Clemenceau à Giverny en 1921. Entre eux, Blanche Hoschedé, belle fille de Monet.
Claude Monet et Georges Clemenceau à Giverny en 1921. Entre eux, Blanche Hoschedé, belle fille de Monet.

The paths of Claude Monet and Georges Clemenceau crossed in the mid-1860s in the vibrant cultural world of Paris, a breeding ground for intellectuals and creative minds. Sharing a mutual admiration for the arts and a burning desire for change, they forged a friendship twenty-five years later that would profoundly shape their lives.

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It was in 1886 that Claude Monet met the journalist Gustave Geoffroy in Brittany, near Belle-Ile en Mer. Four years later, the latter took Georges Clemenceau to Giverny for the first time. Claude Monet's revolutionary approach to painting, characterized by his unique representation of variations of light and color, captivated Georges Clemenceau who wrote in 1895 in the newspaper "La Justice" a laudatory article on the series of "Cathédrales de Rouen" .

Claude Monet. Le portail de la cathédrale de Rouen au soleil. 1894. Metropolitan Museum of Art New-York
Claude Monet. Le portail de la cathédrale de Rouen au soleil. 1894. Metropolitan Museum of Art New-York

Georges Clemenceau became one of the painter's most fervent admirers and promoters, to the point of dedicating a book to him in 1928.


Claude Monet and Georges Clemenceau have both faced their fair share of challenges. Monet's revolutionary passion for his art often condemned him to financial uncertainty and critical disdain. However, Georges Clemenceau's unwavering belief in the genius of Claude Monet and his constant encouragement strengthened the artist's spirit in those moments of doubt.

It was thanks to Georges Clemenceau that Claude Monet was able to complete the production of the panels on the theme of the Water Lilies, which he called his "great decorations" and which he had promised to the French State to celebrate the victory of 1918. It was again Georges Clemenceau who found the Orangerie des Tuileries as their setting.

Claude Monet. Nymphéas "Le matin aux saules" Entre 1914 et 1926. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Michel Urtado
Claude Monet. Nymphéas "Le matin aux saules" Entre 1914 et 1926. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Michel Urtado

Dans ses conférences d'histoire de l'art, Fabrice Roy conjugue le passé au présent, dans une évocation poétique et ludique du 19ème siècle français...




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