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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

Well it's the end of the discussion weeks and a lot has happened to all the characters in this novel, let's dig in

 

Claude & Camille
Week Three

 

1. Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London and Claude is humbled by the poverty he sees there
Does this surprise you when he himself and most of his friends don’t ever have much money and if so what does that tell us about the extent of hunger there really was in England at the time

 

2. Claude writes to Frédéric, but finds out later from Pissaro that he’s been killed
Do you think that his proclivities in his personal life led to his being in the war in the first place
And if he had lived do you think that he and Claude could have remained friends

 

3. Paul Durand-Ruel buys some of Claude’s painting at the urging of Daubigny and he finds that here in England he can finally sell his paintings that he couldn’t at home in France
Do you think it was just the taste difference between the French and English or was it just time for his paintings to start selling

 

4. The war is over the family returns to France but not for long as Claude goes to Holland to paint and leaves Camille in Paris
First why do you think he left her there
Second do you think he would have if he would have known the atrocities that were still going to take place in Paris until peace finally arrived

 

5. In 1874 the artist friends have their opening show and a certain art critic is actually responsible for naming Impressionism as a school of painting
Do you think the world was just ready to accept this form of art or like many times people just want to prove an “expert” wrong

 

6. Are you surprised by Claude’s indiscretion with Alice

 

7. Are you surprised how close the women became when Alice and her children moved in with the Monets

 

8. How do you feel about Claude’s last painting of Camille

 

9. Are you surprised that he and Alice married

 

10. Last thoughts

 

The Artist House at Argenteuil by Claude Monet
"La maison de l'Artiste à Argenteuil"
Claude MONET 1873

Claude Monet the bridge at Argenteuil
"Le Pont d'Argenteuil"
Claude MONET 1874

The Artist's family in the garden by claude Monet
"Au Jardin, la famille de l'artiste"
Claude MONET 1875


"La capeline rouge"
Claude MONET 1873

Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


dhaupt wrote:

Well it's the end of the discussion weeks and a lot has happened to all the characters in this novel, let's dig in

 

Claude & Camille
Week Three

 

1. Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London and Claude is humbled by the poverty he sees there
Does this surprise you when he himself and most of his friends don’t ever have much money and if so what does that tell us about the extent of hunger there really was in England at the time

 

2. Claude writes to Frédéric, but finds out later from Pissaro that he’s been killed
Do you think that his proclivities in his personal life led to his being in the war in the first place
And if he had lived do you think that he and Claude could have remained friends

 

3. Paul Durand-Ruel buys some of Claude’s painting at the urging of Daubigny and he finds that here in England he can finally sell his paintings that he couldn’t at home in France
Do you think it was just the taste difference between the French and English or was it just time for his paintings to start selling

 



In France, before the war, even though he and his friends were poor, society as a whole was not.  However, during war time in England, society as a whole was struggling.  I think Claude was humbled by the widespread poverty and the sacrifices that were made because of the war.  He noticed Camille’s chapped hands in England, a sharp contrast to the condition of her hands and the life she had led with her parents inParis.

 

I think Frederic did enlist in the military to remove himself from the situation at home.  I am sure that he found he could not be around Camille.  I suspect that he did not trust himself.  I think he felt he had disappointed everyone --- his family, Camille, and Claude, and so escaped to the war.

 

I do wonder if Frederic and Claude could have remained friends if Frederic had not been killed.  I don’t know.  Certainly it would have taken time.  Claude was so upset upon hearing of Frederic’s proposal to Camille, but maybe she would not have told Claude if Frederic had lived. 

 

I expect there is an “art history explanation” of why Claude’s paintings were able to be sold inEngland.  Re-reading the passage on page 228, Durand-Ruel said, “Sometimes good things come out of great misfortunes, Monet.  I did not expect any good to come out of this, but perhaps it has.”  I assumed that Durand-Ruel was talking about the war being a great misfortune.  If that was the case, maybe the way in which Claude’s art was painted, with loose brush strokes, sort of hazy, reminded the people ofLondonduring the war.  And because his paintings were of sites, not people, maybe people could be reminded of the war’s effect on the “view,” but would certainly not want to be reminded of the effect of the war on humans. 

 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


Fozzie wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

Well it's the end of the discussion weeks and a lot has happened to all the characters in this novel, let's dig in

 

Claude & Camille
Week Three

 

1. Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London and Claude is humbled by the poverty he sees there
Does this surprise you when he himself and most of his friends don’t ever have much money and if so what does that tell us about the extent of hunger there really was in England at the time

 

2. Claude writes to Frédéric, but finds out later from Pissaro that he’s been killed
Do you think that his proclivities in his personal life led to his being in the war in the first place
And if he had lived do you think that he and Claude could have remained friends

 

3. Paul Durand-Ruel buys some of Claude’s painting at the urging of Daubigny and he finds that here in England he can finally sell his paintings that he couldn’t at home in France
Do you think it was just the taste difference between the French and English or was it just time for his paintings to start selling

 



In France, before the war, even though he and his friends were poor, society as a whole was not.  However, during war time in England, society as a whole was struggling.  I think Claude was humbled by the widespread poverty and the sacrifices that were made because of the war.  He noticed Camille’s chapped hands in England, a sharp contrast to the condition of her hands and the life she had led with her parents inParis.

 

I think Frederic did enlist in the military to remove himself from the situation at home.  I am sure that he found he could not be around Camille.  I suspect that he did not trust himself.  I think he felt he had disappointed everyone --- his family, Camille, and Claude, and so escaped to the war.

 

I do wonder if Frederic and Claude could have remained friends if Frederic had not been killed.  I don’t know.  Certainly it would have taken time.  Claude was so upset upon hearing of Frederic’s proposal to Camille, but maybe she would not have told Claude if Frederic had lived. 

 

I expect there is an “art history explanation” of why Claude’s paintings were able to be sold inEngland.  Re-reading the passage on page 228, Durand-Ruel said, “Sometimes good things come out of great misfortunes, Monet.  I did not expect any good to come out of this, but perhaps it has.”  I assumed that Durand-Ruel was talking about the war being a great misfortune.  If that was the case, maybe the way in which Claude’s art was painted, with loose brush strokes, sort of hazy, reminded the people ofLondonduring the war.  And because his paintings were of sites, not people, maybe people could be reminded of the war’s effect on the “view,” but would certainly not want to be reminded of the effect of the war on humans. 

 


Thanks Laura, great thoughts

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

[ Edited ]

Claude and his fellow artists knew they were poor, especially compared to most of the people living in Paris. For Claude to be shocked by the poverty in London was an eye opener to me. Claude had been driven out of his home many times before and at times had very little to eat, surviving on beans and bread alone. For him to be humbled by the extent of the poverty in London showed how much England had suffered and how little everyone had.

 

I think Frederic's fight with Claude cemented his wanting to go into the war. I don't think Frederic wanted to be around Claude and Camille at that time. Camille confesses she and Frederic had been lovers while Claude was away and that Frederic had asked her to marry him at that time. When Claude returned and he and Camille got back together, I think Frederic had a hard time seeing them happy together, having to witness what he had lost out on. Learning that his family had found out about his relationship with another man and therefore cancelled the group's art exhibition, I wondered if he felt that it was too hard to tell his friends the truth. The longer he kept the truth from them, the harder it was to say the words out loud. I think Frederic was very conflicted and needed to get away from everyone. His answer was to enlist in the war and come back a hero. Maybe then he would be able to fix things with everyone.

 

I was very sad to learn that Frederic had died in the war. I believe the two friends never really stopped caring for one another and I think if Frederic would have lived that he and Claude would have eventually become friends again. Especially after Claude cheated on Camille with Alice Hoschede. I think after that incident Claude began to understand how such a thing could have happened between Camille and Frederic.

 

For Claude, I felt that his work as an artist always came first, even before his family. His true love was his painting. It was his sanctuary, the one thing he could completely lose himself in. I believe he loved his family, but he couldn't resist the pull his art had on him. He left Camille behind in Paris when he went to Holland, because she didn't want to go with him. He asked her to come along, but when she declined, he left anyway. I think his mind was made up about leaving for Holland, whether or not Camille agreed to come with him. He was upset about Frederic's death and what Camille had told him about her relationship with Frederic. I think if he would have known all the horrible things that went on in Paris while he was away, he would have forced Camille to come with him whether she wanted to or not. In either case, I don't think it was an option in Claude's mind to not go to Holland to paint.

 

I think when the artists were finally able to hold their exhibition that the world was ready to embrace their kind of art. Maybe seeing all these similar styles of painting in one place made the world more acceptable to their paintings. I think when the art critic gave them the name Impressionists it helped to categorize their type of work and made them more appealing to art buyers and collectors.

 

I was very shocked when Claude slept with Alice. I couldn't believe he did that to Camille, especially after knowing how he felt finding out Frederic and Camille had slept together. I think after his night with Alice, he began to feel even more guilty about his fight with Frederic, making him understand how something like that could have happened between two lonely people.

 

I was surprised how close Camille and Alice became, how big a role they played in each other's life. It must have been hard for Alice to keep such a big secret from Camille considering how close they were. Claude also must have been on pins and needles never knowing if Camille would find out about him and Alice. I also wondered if Camille had ever suspected that anything had gone on between Claude and Alice. The whole situation would have made me very uncomfortable, but somehow they all made it work.

 

I had seen Claude's painting of Camille on her deathbed while looking up some of Claude's paintings on the internet. At that time I was a little surprised that he felt the need to paint his wife in that state, but after reading this scene in the novel, I understood his reasoning. I think he just wanted to be able to hold onto her for a little while longer. She was the love of his life and he wasn't ready to accept yet that she could be gone.

 

Knowing Claude's draw to Alice, it wasn't that surprising that they were married after both their spouses had died.  I think most surprising to me was that Alice was still married to her husband while her and the children were living with Claude. I realize divorce was probably not an option at this time, but I felt that her husband had abandoned her and the children, leaving Claude to pick up the pieces he left behind.

 

I really loved this book! Five stars! :smileyhappy:

April
Scribe
ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

Claude & Camille
Week Three

 

1. Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London and Claude is humbled by the poverty he sees there
Does this surprise you when he himself and most of his friends don’t ever have much money and if so what does that tell us about the extent of hunger there really was in England at the time-No, I don't think he knew how bad it really was.

 

2. Claude writes to Frédéric, but finds out later from Pissaro that he’s been killed
Do you think that his proclivities in his personal life led to his being in the war in the first place-No, I think he went because he was trying to get away from his family and their money. I also think that he was ashamed that the family did not support the artists when they said they would.
And if he had lived do you think that he and Claude could have remained friends-Not really sure. Maybe

 

3. Paul Durand-Ruel buys some of Claude’s painting at the urging of Daubigny and he finds that here in England he can finally sell his paintings that he couldn’t at home in France
Do you think it was just the taste difference between the French and English or was it just time for his paintings to start selling-French were too set in their ways about what art is. The English were move receiving about these new artists called the impressionists. They saw what these artists were trying to show in their work.

 

4. The war is over the family returns to France but not for long as Claude goes to Holland to paint and leaves Camille in Paris
First why do you think he left her there-She had a home. He thougth she would be safe.

Second do you think he would have if he would have known the atrocities that were still going to take place in Paris until peace finally arrived-No, He would never have left his family in any kind of danger.

 

5. In 1874 the artist friends have their opening show and a certain art critic is actually responsible for naming Impressionism as a school of painting
Do you think the world was just ready to accept this form of art or like many times people just want to prove an “expert” wrong-Paris art world was not ready. English people were. Their painting show really life and had a lot of color and expression.

 

6. Are you surprised by Claude’s indiscretion with Alice-Yes, I thought that he really loved Camille. I belinged that they belong together.

 

7. Are you surprised how close the women became when Alice and her children moved in with the Monets-Yes, I don't I would have been that welcoming.

 

8. How do you feel about Claude’s last painting of Camille-I like it. Every expressive.

 

9. Are you surprised that he and Alice married-No

 

10. Last thoughts-This book showed us just how hard it was for these artists to get accepted and what they did to earn their place in the art world.

 

Author
StephanieCowell
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎03-16-2012
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

FROM THE AUTHOR:

 

Some wonderful responses!! Thank you all so much for your words! I wanted to add that I think Claude slept with Alice that one time because they were both so lonely. He saw Alice as calm at the time when Camille was often utterly dysfunctional and he was desperate...not that he was right!

 

I also think the portrayals of France by the impressionists became more valuable to buyers after the terrible trauma of the war. But this would be a big question for art historians.

 

There was much real gossip in Paris at the time Alice and her six children were living with Claude and his family without her husband. Lots of lewd remarks. But it really happened that way, strange as it might sound. I could do another novel from the pov of Alice...that would be so fascinating to do! But I get ideas for novels in one minute and they take 1-5 years to write!!

 

Many art historians and lovers feel Claude sought for his lost love in his water lily paintings. What do you think?

 

Stephanie

Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 901
Registered: ‎08-30-2010

Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

Claude & Camille 
Week Three

 

When Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London, I remember Cluade’s being shocked at the way London’s poverty manifested itself, in beggars and pick-pockets.  Claude’s character took a step up at that moment in my mind:  he and his friends were also so very poor, but they did not beg or steal; they maintained their ideals and morals.  Was London at that time, as it seems to me now, a dirtier city than Paris?  Since Claude always seemed to be lured even from Paris to the sea and the countryside, I cannot imagine his being happy in a new, strange, dirty city.

 

I liked Frederic, and I refuse to think bad of him.  He has, in a way, always been Claude’s protector, giving him studio space, encouraging him, and helping to support him with money from home.  Idealistically, I have decided that Frederic went to war for Claude (and the rest of his artist friends), kind of like their representative; and I think going to war also gave Frederic a chance to prove to his father and to himself that he is a man.  And last, but not least, he has always been a generous, helpful person and I truly believe he wanted to be useful (he has had some medical training, right?).  So, Deb, to answer your question directly—Yes, I think even under different circumstances, Frederic probably would have joined the army.

 

Claude’s paintings selling in England probably had a great deal to do with France’s being at war.  War often signals changes in a culture and tends to draw international attention to the county involved in war.  Claude has already received some attention as an artist, so the timing is right this Frenchman’s “new style” to gain recognition.  Another possible contributing factor to his success at this time in England and a little later in France is that his style is about the beauty of common life in France, a life style that, with war raging, many will suddenly become nostalgic about and want to romanticize.

 

Although Claude loves his beautiful Camille, he craves both beauty and simplicity.  When they return to war-torn Paris, there is no simple beauty for Claude to paint.  He must find a place with natural beauty.  And, for a time, I think he needs to be away from Camille.  For some reason their relationship never settles into that “comfortable” zone, there is always tumult—Camille’s mood swings, Claude’s inability to confide in her about finances and his own depressions.  Claude needs the escape to Holland and Camille needs to remain in Paris, to be near her sister and in touch with the “society” she knows.

 

I loved the physical and emotional contrasts between Camille and Alice.  Claude is immediately drawn to the quiet peacefulness, the strength and stability which exude from Alice; he needs those things.  Having dealt with Camille’s secretiveness about her past, Claude is also drawn to Alice’s open, matter-of-fact declaration that they must not hurt their respective partners by engaging in an affair. He seems to read this as a sign of Alice’s loyalty, a loyalty he has always vaguely doubted in Camille.  

 

Later, when Alice and her children move in with the Monets, I think Camille senses these same qualities in Alice and likes her immediately.  After all, Camille needs stability too.  Camille also repeats Claude’s assessment of Alice’s physical beauty—Alice is not beautiful, but there IS a beauty about her. It seems to be the perfect household for Claude—Camille, his beautiful muse; Alice, his serene stability; and a houseful of happy, loving children. The situation seems to make Camille happy, too.  (But, of course, I remembered Camille’s snatch of conversation about Alice’s beauty when Camille’s sister tells Claude that Camille thought Claude would leave her for Alice.  Sneaky!) I would have been disappointed in Claude, had he not married Alice.  (I think Camille would have been disappointed, too)

 

Enough for now.  I’ve gotten too long-winded.  I’ll get to #’s 8 and 10 later.

 

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


aprilh wrote:

Claude and his fellow artists knew they were poor, especially compared to most of the people living in Paris. For Claude to be shocked by the poverty in London was an eye opener to me. Claude had been driven out of his home many times before and at times had very little to eat, surviving on beans and bread alone. For him to be humbled by the extent of the poverty in London showed how much England had suffered and how little everyone had.

 

I think Frederic's fight with Claude cemented his wanting to go into the war. I don't think Frederic wanted to be around Claude and Camille at that time. Camille confesses she and Frederic had been lovers while Claude was away and that Frederic had asked her to marry him at that time. When Claude returned and he and Camille got back together, I think Frederic had a hard time seeing them happy together, having to witness what he had lost out on. Learning that his family had found out about his relationship with another man and therefore cancelled the group's art exhibition, I wondered if he felt that it was too hard to tell his friends the truth. The longer he kept the truth from them, the harder it was to say the words out loud. I think Frederic was very conflicted and needed to get away from everyone. His answer was to enlist in the war and come back a hero. Maybe then he would be able to fix things with everyone.

 

I was very sad to learn that Frederic had died in the war. I believe the two friends never really stopped caring for one another and I think if Frederic would have lived that he and Claude would have eventually become friends again. Especially after Claude cheated on Camille with Alice Hoschede. I think after that incident Claude began to understand how such a thing could have happened between Camille and Frederic.

 

For Claude, I felt that his work as an artist always came first, even before his family. His true love was his painting. It was his sanctuary, the one thing he could completely lose himself in. I believe he loved his family, but he couldn't resist the pull his art had on him. He left Camille behind in Paris when he went to Holland, because she didn't want to go with him. He asked her to come along, but when she declined, he left anyway. I think his mind was made up about leaving for Holland, whether or not Camille agreed to come with him. He was upset about Frederic's death and what Camille had told him about her relationship with Frederic. I think if he would have known all the horrible things that went on in Paris while he was away, he would have forced Camille to come with him whether she wanted to or not. In either case, I don't think it was an option in Claude's mind to not go to Holland to paint.

 

I think when the artists were finally able to hold their exhibition that the world was ready to embrace their kind of art. Maybe seeing all these similar styles of painting in one place made the world more acceptable to their paintings. I think when the art critic gave them the name Impressionists it helped to categorize their type of work and made them more appealing to art buyers and collectors.

 

I was very shocked when Claude slept with Alice. I couldn't believe he did that to Camille, especially after knowing how he felt finding out Frederic and Camille had slept together. I think after his night with Alice, he began to feel even more guilty about his fight with Frederic, making him understand how something like that could have happened between two lonely people.

 

I was surprised how close Camille and Alice became, how big a role they played in each other's life. It must have been hard for Alice to keep such a big secret from Camille considering how close they were. Claude also must have been on pins and needles never knowing if Camille would find out about him and Alice. I also wondered if Camille had ever suspected that anything had gone on between Claude and Alice. The whole situation would have made me very uncomfortable, but somehow they all made it work.

 

I had seen Claude's painting of Camille on her deathbed while looking up some of Claude's paintings on the internet. At that time I was a little surprised that he felt the need to paint his wife in that state, but after reading this scene in the novel, I understood his reasoning. I think he just wanted to be able to hold onto her for a little while longer. She was the love of his life and he wasn't ready to accept yet that she could be gone.

 

Knowing Claude's draw to Alice, it wasn't that surprising that they were married after both their spouses had died.  I think most surprising to me was that Alice was still married to her husband while her and the children were living with Claude. I realize divorce was probably not an option at this time, but I felt that her husband had abandoned her and the children, leaving Claude to pick up the pieces he left behind.

 

I really loved this book! Five stars! :smileyhappy:


April, thanks for your thoughts. I also found the friendship between Alice and Camille strange, of course we know more than Camille did.

I often wonder if Claude had given in and slept with Alice when she was offering him solace at the end of Camille's life if he would have felt different after Camille died.

 

 

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


ReadingPatti wrote:

Claude & Camille
Week Three

 

1. Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London and Claude is humbled by the poverty he sees there
Does this surprise you when he himself and most of his friends don’t ever have much money and if so what does that tell us about the extent of hunger there really was in England at the time-No, I don't think he knew how bad it really was.

 

2. Claude writes to Frédéric, but finds out later from Pissaro that he’s been killed
Do you think that his proclivities in his personal life led to his being in the war in the first place-No, I think he went because he was trying to get away from his family and their money. I also think that he was ashamed that the family did not support the artists when they said they would.
And if he had lived do you think that he and Claude could have remained friends-Not really sure. Maybe

 

3. Paul Durand-Ruel buys some of Claude’s painting at the urging of Daubigny and he finds that here in England he can finally sell his paintings that he couldn’t at home in France
Do you think it was just the taste difference between the French and English or was it just time for his paintings to start selling-French were too set in their ways about what art is. The English were move receiving about these new artists called the impressionists. They saw what these artists were trying to show in their work.

 

4. The war is over the family returns to France but not for long as Claude goes to Holland to paint and leaves Camille in Paris
First why do you think he left her there-She had a home. He thougth she would be safe.

Second do you think he would have if he would have known the atrocities that were still going to take place in Paris until peace finally arrived-No, He would never have left his family in any kind of danger.

 

5. In 1874 the artist friends have their opening show and a certain art critic is actually responsible for naming Impressionism as a school of painting
Do you think the world was just ready to accept this form of art or like many times people just want to prove an “expert” wrong-Paris art world was not ready. English people were. Their painting show really life and had a lot of color and expression.

 

6. Are you surprised by Claude’s indiscretion with Alice-Yes, I thought that he really loved Camille. I belinged that they belong together.

 

7. Are you surprised how close the women became when Alice and her children moved in with the Monets-Yes, I don't I would have been that welcoming.

 

8. How do you feel about Claude’s last painting of Camille-I like it. Every expressive.

 

9. Are you surprised that he and Alice married-No

 

10. Last thoughts-This book showed us just how hard it was for these artists to get accepted and what they did to earn their place in the art world.

 


Great comments Patti

Tell me why you weren't suprised that Claude married Alice

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


StephanieCowell wrote:

FROM THE AUTHOR:

 

Some wonderful responses!! Thank you all so much for your words! I wanted to add that I think Claude slept with Alice that one time because they were both so lonely. He saw Alice as calm at the time when Camille was often utterly dysfunctional and he was desperate...not that he was right!

 

I also think the portrayals of France by the impressionists became more valuable to buyers after the terrible trauma of the war. But this would be a big question for art historians.

 

There was much real gossip in Paris at the time Alice and her six children were living with Claude and his family without her husband. Lots of lewd remarks. But it really happened that way, strange as it might sound. I could do another novel from the pov of Alice...that would be so fascinating to do! But I get ideas for novels in one minute and they take 1-5 years to write!!

 

Many art historians and lovers feel Claude sought for his lost love in his water lily paintings. What do you think?

 

Stephanie


You know I wasn't surprised by Claude's seeking out Alice, I think he found in her what he really wanted to find in Camille and that was her level headedness and her realness is the light of Camille's sort of ethereal beauty and fragility of mind.

 

hmm, as far as Claude searching for Camille in his water lilies, i'm sure the historians know better than I do so I won't disagree with them.

 

I would love a novel in Alice's perspective. Was Claude faithful to Alice, do you know

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


whiteginger wrote:

Claude & Camille 
Week Three

 

When Claude and Camille settle in a French section of London, I remember Cluade’s being shocked at the way London’s poverty manifested itself, in beggars and pick-pockets.  Claude’s character took a step up at that moment in my mind:  he and his friends were also so very poor, but they did not beg or steal; they maintained their ideals and morals.  Was London at that time, as it seems to me now, a dirtier city than Paris?  Since Claude always seemed to be lured even from Paris to the sea and the countryside, I cannot imagine his being happy in a new, strange, dirty city.

 

I liked Frederic, and I refuse to think bad of him.  He has, in a way, always been Claude’s protector, giving him studio space, encouraging him, and helping to support him with money from home.  Idealistically, I have decided that Frederic went to war for Claude (and the rest of his artist friends), kind of like their representative; and I think going to war also gave Frederic a chance to prove to his father and to himself that he is a man.  And last, but not least, he has always been a generous, helpful person and I truly believe he wanted to be useful (he has had some medical training, right?).  So, Deb, to answer your question directly—Yes, I think even under different circumstances, Frederic probably would have joined the army.

 

Claude’s paintings selling in England probably had a great deal to do with France’s being at war.  War often signals changes in a culture and tends to draw international attention to the county involved in war.  Claude has already received some attention as an artist, so the timing is right this Frenchman’s “new style” to gain recognition.  Another possible contributing factor to his success at this time in England and a little later in France is that his style is about the beauty of common life in France, a life style that, with war raging, many will suddenly become nostalgic about and want to romanticize.

 

Although Claude loves his beautiful Camille, he craves both beauty and simplicity.  When they return to war-torn Paris, there is no simple beauty for Claude to paint.  He must find a place with natural beauty.  And, for a time, I think he needs to be away from Camille.  For some reason their relationship never settles into that “comfortable” zone, there is always tumult—Camille’s mood swings, Claude’s inability to confide in her about finances and his own depressions.  Claude needs the escape to Holland and Camille needs to remain in Paris, to be near her sister and in touch with the “society” she knows.

 

I loved the physical and emotional contrasts between Camille and Alice.  Claude is immediately drawn to the quiet peacefulness, the strength and stability which exude from Alice; he needs those things.  Having dealt with Camille’s secretiveness about her past, Claude is also drawn to Alice’s open, matter-of-fact declaration that they must not hurt their respective partners by engaging in an affair. He seems to read this as a sign of Alice’s loyalty, a loyalty he has always vaguely doubted in Camille.  

 

Later, when Alice and her children move in with the Monets, I think Camille senses these same qualities in Alice and likes her immediately.  After all, Camille needs stability too.  Camille also repeats Claude’s assessment of Alice’s physical beauty—Alice is not beautiful, but there IS a beauty about her. It seems to be the perfect household for Claude—Camille, his beautiful muse; Alice, his serene stability; and a houseful of happy, loving children. The situation seems to make Camille happy, too.  (But, of course, I remembered Camille’s snatch of conversation about Alice’s beauty when Camille’s sister tells Claude that Camille thought Claude would leave her for Alice.  Sneaky!) I would have been disappointed in Claude, had he not married Alice.  (I think Camille would have been disappointed, too)

 

Enough for now.  I’ve gotten too long-winded.  I’ll get to #’s 8 and 10 later.

 


whiteginger, I loved your thoughts on Frédéric, you said the exact things I would have if I could speak so eloquently. :smileyhappy:

 

hmm, you think that Camille expected Alice and Claude to marry, how very interesting

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Fozzie
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

4. The war is over the family returns to France but not for long as Claude goes to Holland to paint and leaves Camille in Paris
First why do you think he left her there
Second do you think he would have if he would have known the atrocities that were still going to take place in Paris until peace finally arrived

 

6. Are you surprised by Claude’s indiscretion withAlice

 

7. Are you surprised how close the women became when Alice and her children moved in with the Monets

 

8. How do you feel about Claude’s last painting of Camille

 

9. Are you surprised that he and Alice married

 


 

Claude abided by Camille’s wish that she remain in Paris while he went to Holland.  Clearly Camille needed some time alone if she couldn’t even tell him if the separation was temporary or permanent.  I think Claude would have made the same decision, no matter what the war held.  It wasn’t his decision.  It was Camille’s.  Given what we know of Camille’s personality, she would do what she wanted to do.  I don’t see that Claude could have changed that.

 

Even though I saw it coming, I was still surprised by the coupling of Claude and Alice.  I thought Alicewould be able to hold out, so to speak, but I guess not.

 

Talk about a shocking turn of events --- the family of the patron moves in with the artist and his family!  I suspect that Alice and Camille became close because they both finally had someone who they could rely on to be there for them and to pay attention to them.  Claude was often wrapped up in his art and Alice’s husband wrapped up in business.

 

As for my thoughts on Claude’s last painting of Camille…Claude was an artist and could paint what he saw fit to paint.  It is not something I would have done, but I do not stand in judgment of him either.

 

I was very happy that Claude and Alice married.  It made for a nice, happy ending, and softened the events preceding their marriage a bit.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


aprilh wrote:

 

 

I was very sad to learn that Frederic had died in the war. I believe the two friends never really stopped caring for one another and I think if Frederic would have lived that he and Claude would have eventually become friends again. Especially after Claude cheated on Camille with Alice Hoschede. I think after that incident Claude began to understand how such a thing could have happened between Camille and Frederic.

 

 


Ah ha!  That's a great insight!  I hadn't thought of that.  That makes sense.  Now I think they could have become friends after that.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


whiteginger wrote:


 

I liked Frederic, and I refuse to think bad of him.  He has, in a way, always been Claude’s protector, giving him studio space, encouraging him, and helping to support him with money from home.  Idealistically, I have decided that Frederic went to war for Claude (and the rest of his artist friends), kind of like their representative; and I think going to war also gave Frederic a chance to prove to his father and to himself that he is a man.  And last, but not least, he has always been a generous, helpful person and I truly believe he wanted to be useful (he has had some medical training, right?).  So, Deb, to answer your question directly—Yes, I think even under different circumstances, Frederic probably would have joined the army.

 

 



I do remember thinking the same two thoughts that I bolded here while reading the book.  I agree.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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dhaupt
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


Fozzie wrote:

4. The war is over the family returns to France but not for long as Claude goes to Holland to paint and leaves Camille in Paris
First why do you think he left her there
Second do you think he would have if he would have known the atrocities that were still going to take place in Paris until peace finally arrived

 

6. Are you surprised by Claude’s indiscretion withAlice

 

7. Are you surprised how close the women became when Alice and her children moved in with the Monets

 

8. How do you feel about Claude’s last painting of Camille

 

9. Are you surprised that he and Alice married

 


 

Claude abided by Camille’s wish that she remain in Paris while he went to Holland.  Clearly Camille needed some time alone if she couldn’t even tell him if the separation was temporary or permanent.  I think Claude would have made the same decision, no matter what the war held.  It wasn’t his decision.  It was Camille’s.  Given what we know of Camille’s personality, she would do what she wanted to do.  I don’t see that Claude could have changed that.

 

Even though I saw it coming, I was still surprised by the coupling of Claude and Alice.  I thought Alicewould be able to hold out, so to speak, but I guess not.

 

Talk about a shocking turn of events --- the family of the patron moves in with the artist and his family!  I suspect that Alice and Camille became close because they both finally had someone who they could rely on to be there for them and to pay attention to them.  Claude was often wrapped up in his art and Alice’s husband wrapped up in business.

 

As for my thoughts on Claude’s last painting of Camille…Claude was an artist and could paint what he saw fit to paint.  It is not something I would have done, but I do not stand in judgment of him either.

 

I was very happy that Claude and Alice married.  It made for a nice, happy ending, and softened the events preceding their marriage a bit.


Laura, I agree with your thoughts about Alice and Camille they really complimented each other didn't they, maybe that's why Claude loved them both, maybe together they were the perfect woman

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Fozzie
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

[ Edited ]

 

Many art historians and lovers feel Claude sought for his lost love in his water lily paintings. What do you think?

 



In thinking about this question, I reread the prelude and interludes of the book.  In the prelude, Claude states that the gardens at Giverny are for Camille.  The water lilies he painted are in the garden at Giverny.

 

In the interlude on page 256, Claude thought, “But I have not made them as beautiful as they are, he thought ruefully when he recalled that ecstasy of painting that had remained with him for several days.  Nor did I ever really see how lovely my Minou was when I made love to her, only after when I stepped away and saw her lying on our rumpled bed, her look so tender.”

 

We know that Claude created many painting of Camille, in many different settings and lights, like he did with the water lilies.  My guess is that he was never completely satisfied with any of the paintings he did of Camille, just as he was not completely satisfied with the paintings he did of the water lilies.  He felt he could not capture the full beauty of the subject, be it Camille or lilies.  Once Camille had died, and he could no longer strive fore the elusive perfect painting of Camille, he channeled that same feeling into striving for the elusive perfect depiction of the water lilies he had put in the garden he created for her.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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aprilh
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


Fozzie wrote:

 

Many art historians and lovers feel Claude sought for his lost love in his water lily paintings. What do you think?

 



In thinking about this question, I reread the prelude and interludes of the book.  In the prelude, Claude states that the gardens at Giverny are for Camille.  The water lilies he painted are in the garden at Giverny.

 

In the interlude on page 256, Claude thought, “But I have not made them as beautiful as they are, he thought ruefully when he recalled that ecstasy of painting that had remained with him for several days.  Nor did I ever really see how lovely my Minou was when I made love to her, only after when I stepped away and saw her lying on our rumpled bed, her look so tender.”

 

We know that Claude created many painting of Camille, in many different settings and lights, like he did with the water lilies.  My guess is that he was never completely satisfied with any of the paintings he did of Camille, just as he was not completely satisfied with the paintings he did of the water lilies.  He felt he could not capture the full beauty of the subject, be it Camille or lilies.  Once Camille had died, and he could no longer strive fore the elusive perfect painting of Camille, he channeled that same feeling into striving for the elusive perfect depiction of the water lilies he had put in the garden he created for her.



Beautifully said! I think you pinpointed the exact reason as to why Claude kept painting Camille and then the water lilies.

April
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StephanieCowell
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

FROM THE AUTHOR:

 

Debbie, I am sure Claude was faithful to Alice. He just wasn't interested in conquering women; he wasn't Manet! He wanted a woman to love him and he wanted the welfare of his children and friends and he wanted to paint and have his gardens....and of course to pay for things. Once he could earn a steady income he was a very steady, stable man. He described himself as boring! (In fact, there is no proof he EVER slept with Alice and historians widely speculate on this.)

 

Stephanie

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dhaupt
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille


StephanieCowell wrote:

FROM THE AUTHOR:

 

Debbie, I am sure Claude was faithful to Alice. He just wasn't interested in conquering women; he wasn't Manet! He wanted a woman to love him and he wanted the welfare of his children and friends and he wanted to paint and have his gardens....and of course to pay for things. Once he could earn a steady income he was a very steady, stable man. He described himself as boring! (In fact, there is no proof he EVER slept with Alice and historians widely speculate on this.)

 

Stephanie


Wow, thanks Stephanie I did not know that.

This brings up another topic of why I love historically accurate fiction, I learn so much about the history that I so thoughtlessly ignored in school.

 

 

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ehopt
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Re: Week three discussion of Claude & Camille

Stephanie I loved the book and have just finished Marrying Mozart, another great read!!

 

When I read Claude & Camille I simply could not put it down.  I have always been drawn to both Impressionist music and art.  I had peeked into the composers lives but to get to see the artists side was fascinating.  

Really beautiful written, brava!!

 

Best,

Erin