Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
Part I: Art Lecture
March 26 • 1:15p • Isabel Hall or
March 27 • 7:00p • Lecture Room
Part II: Book Discussion
April 9 • 1:15p • Isabel Hall or
April 10 • 7:00p • Lecture Room
Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. 'Ma tres chère …' Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. 'I loved you so,' he said. 'I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of us when we began, you gave us courage. These gardens at Giverny are for you but I'm old and you're forever young and will never see them….'
In the mid-nineteenth century, a young man named Claude Monet decided that he would rather endure a difficult life painting landscapes than take over his father's nautical supplies business in a French seaside town. Against his father's will, and with nothing but a dream and an insatiable urge to create a new style of art that repudiated the Classical Realism of the time, he set off for Paris.
But once there he is confronted with obstacles: an art world that refused to validate his style, extreme poverty, and a war that led him away from his home and friends. But there were bright spots as well: his deep, enduring friendships with men named Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet – a group that together would come to be known as the Impressionists, and that supported each other through the difficult years. But even more illuminating was his lifelong love, Camille Doncieux, a beautiful, upper-class Parisian girl who threw away her privileged life to be by the side of the defiant painter and embrace the lively Bohemian life of their time.
His muse, his best friend, his passionate lover, and the mother to his two children, Camille stayed with Monet – and believed in his work – even as they lived in wretched rooms, were sometimes kicked out of those, and often suffered the indignities of destitution. She comforted him during his frequent emotional torments, even when he would leave her for long periods to go off on his own to paint in the countryside.
But Camille had her own demons – secrets that Monet could never penetrate, including one that when eventually revealed would pain him so deeply that he would never fully recover from its impact. For though Camille never once stopped loving the painter with her entire being, she was not immune to the loneliness that often came with being his partner.
A vividly rendered portrait of both the rise of Impressionism and of the artist at the center of the movement, Claude and Camille is above all a love story of the highest romantic order.
FIA book discussions focus on works of fiction and non-fiction related to art, art museums, or FIA collections.
April 24th • 6:00p
Associate Professor, Indiana University Bloomington
The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture is an informative annual speaker series that addresses art, religion and history prior to the 19th century presented by leading scholars in their field.
Previous Sheppy Dog Fund lectures
Rembrandt's Images of Jesus & the Jewish Community of Amsterdam
Presented by Dr. Shelley Perlove, Professor of Art History at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.
Still Life in Real Time: Reflections in and on Dutch Still Life
Presented by Dr. Celeste Brusati, Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The series was established in 2011 by Dr. Alan Klein, donor advisor of the Sheppy Dog Fund. Dr. Klein, DDS, attended medical school at New York University's College of Dentistry and graduated in 1976. He has been in private practice for 33 years with a specialty in Pediatric Dentistry and provides treatment for very young children with extensive needs and those children with special needs and is affiliated with Hurley Medical Center and Genesys Health System. In addition, Dr. Klein received a law degree from Cooley Law School in 1986 and a Master's in Tax Law from Wayne State University in 1996.
Dr. Klein's philanthropic support also extends to programs that address the creative development and welfare of children. A recent commitment to the FIA's Education Department will help fund early childhood programs including a partnership with Head Start programs in Flint.
Dr. Alan Klein
The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture has been established to address the topics of art, religion and history prior to the 19th century, funded annually by the Sheppy Dog Fund, Dr. Alan Klein, Advisor.