|Publisher:||Doubleday Canada||Published:||November 7th 2017|
Claude Monet's water lily paintings are a legend renowned the world over, but the dramatic story of the artist behind the art remains mostly unknown. Telling that story is the acclaimed historian, Ross King, as he paints the most nuanced, riveting and humane portrait yet of Claude Monet, arguably the most famous artist of the 20th century.
As World War I exploded in the distance of Giverny, Monet was facing his own personal crucible. At 71, he was grieving the death of his wife, Alice, in 1911. A year later he began going blind. Then, his eldest son, Jean, fell ill and died of syphilis, and his other son was sent to the front to fight for France. Within months, a violent storm destroyed much of the garden that had been his inspiration for some 20 years. At the same time, his reputation was under attack as a new generation of artists, led by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, were dazzling the art world and expressing disgust with Impressionism. Against all this, fighting his own self-doubt, depression and age, Monet found the wherewithal to construct a massive new studio, 70 feet long and 50 feet high, to accommodate the gigantic canvases that would, he hoped, revive him.
Using letters, memoirs and other sources not employed by other biographers, and focusing on this remarkable period in the artist's life, Ross King reveals a more complex, more human, more intimate Claude Monet than has ever been portrayed, and firmly places his water lily project among the greatest achievements in the history of art.
ROSS KING is the highly praised author of, among other books, Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, as well as The Judgment of Paris and Leonardo and the Last Supper, both of which won the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction. He lives just outside Oxford, in England.