By Carleton Varney - Special to The Palm Beach Daily News
I’ve always been a fan of Claude Monet, for it was he who painted the carefree gardens of Giverny, where he lived 40 miles outside of Paris. Open to the public in the spring, summer and early fall, Monet’s home is a must-see.
Monet always planted his gardens in color groups. Flowers of pinks, violets, whites and blues were planted together, while the sunny yellows, golds and oranges found their home in other free-form placements in the magnificent gardens of the impressionist painter.
Monet loved bridges, too. Bridges and ponds and floating lily pads are among the signature elements in his paintings. And metal-framed arched arbors and pergolas covered with climbing roses and clematis were often part of Giverny’s gardens.
If I’m choosing an arbor for a garden, I almost always go for one with a dark metal frame. That’s because I don’t want the beauty of the plants to be interrupted by the jarring appearance of a painted or wooden frame. Seems to me that vines, leaves and flowers blend much better with a metal design.
Monet was a genius with color, and his talent is beautifully represented in the interiors of his home, which have been preserved by the Foundation Monet. The dining room is a cheerful yellow, a happy hue by day and a glowing color by night, reminiscent of the gilt frame that might have framed one of the master’s paintings.
Monet chose a blue scheme for the adjacent kitchen, where blue and white tiles complement walls painted a lovely light blue with white trim. When the door to the dining room is open, one can see how the yellow dining room walls set off the soft-blue-and-white kitchen.
If you’re seeking ideals for your own home or garden, a trip to Monet’s house might be just the decorating nudge you need. It’s a colorful pleasure for the heart and the mind. You can take an online tour at giverny.org.
Speaking of artists and their art, if you happen visit Ireland this fall, I hope you’ll stop by the Hunt Museum in Limerick to see the exhibition of painting by Sir John Lavery (1856-1941) and Walter Frederick Osborne (1859-1903), a super show with lots of happy colors.
Sir John, an Irish-born artistic genius, depicted in his work his native isle but also painted many works in Florida. One of his paintings was actually done at The Breakers in Palm Beach and it is on display. There also are paintings of beaches and landscapes in Tangier as well as a host of portraits of the ladies of the time, including one extremely poignant canvas of his wife.
Artists with a love for color always provide decoration inspirations. When you are planning new décor for your home, you can never go wrong looking at works by great artists. Let their talent lead you to something wonderful.