Radical Republicanism, Darwin's Science, and the Evolution of Impressionist Aesthetics
Life is short, and art long.
—Hippocrates, The Aphorismi
Claude Monet died on December 5, 1926. “Monet did not like to talk about his death,” writes biographer Daniel Wildenstein, “and thus omitted to make certain arrangements. But he had made clear to his immediate circle that he did not want a religious ceremony.”1 The only other alternative at that time was a civil burial at which the town mayor, representative of the secularized Republic, officiated. Henri Vidal, an eyewitness that day, recounted his memory of the events surrounding the funeral: “With his servants, the town mayor, and the pallbearers, we were not even twelve that morning in his Giverny studio. … A black cloth with silver borders was draped over his coffin; someone entered and abruptly tore off this funereal garb while exclaiming, ‘No! Not that! Not that!’ That someone, in whose eye a tear was forming for perhaps the first time ever, that someone was [Georges] Clemenceau, his friend, the only friend the painter had. He tore down an old cretonne curtain, a colorful print with periwinkles, forget-me-nots, and hydrangea, a curtain with subdued colors—the colors of Monet’s skies—and he redraped the coffin with it. It was beneath this old piece of finery that the splendid painter, who had stolen its secret from the pearl, was put to rest in Giverny’s cemetery.”2 ← 141 | 142 →
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