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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > SEPTEMBER 2016 > Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies

Ross King

Doubleday Canada

IN THE spring of 1914, Georges Clemenceau – journalist, republican, once and future prime minster of France – paid a visit to his close friend Claude Monet. The artist had been depressed since the death of his beloved wife, Alice, three years earlier; his bleak mood was compounded by the realization he was losing his sight and the sudden death, at age 46, of his eldest son, Jean. Along with other members of Monet’s inner circle (which included the dramatist and actor Sacha Guitry; the writer and art critic Octave Mirbeau; and Monet’s first biographer, Gustave Geffroy), Clemenceau began encouraging the painter to get back to work, fearing nothing else would bring Monet out of his despair. These efforts by Clemenceau (a man known for his powers of persuasion) sparked what would become an obsession on the part of the Impressionist master spanning more than a decade.

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