The Claude Monet Rose

Claude Monet RoseWhile writing on Camille Pissarro Rose, I chanced upon Claude Monet Rose which in some ways looks similar to my untrained eyes.  This fruity-scented rose variety has carmine, orange to creamy white base stripes, and was bred by Jack E Christensen later introduced by Delbard to the European market in 1992.

Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926), a French Impressionist painter who needs no introduction, his famous water lilies paintings were reproduced and mentioned regularly in media.  Monet’s renowned garden in Giverny was bequeathed by his son Michel to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1966.  Through the Foundation Claude Monet, the house and gardens were opened for visits in 1980 after restoration.  The house and garden are major attractions in Giverny and hosted tourists from all over the world.

Monet started his training for a career in art since young with the support of his mother, a singer.  But at age 16, his mother passed away and he has to leave school and went to live with his childless aunt.  In 1861, Monet was drafted into the military service for 7 years.  His prosperous father declined to buy him out of the service because Monet refused to give up his painting.  After a year in the army, Monet contacted typhoid fever, during his convalescence, Monet’s aunt get him out of the army and later went to an art school.

Disillusioned with the traditional art teachings, Monet met with a group of Impressionist artist and shared the new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air. Crucial to the art of the Impressionist painters was the understanding of the effects of light and juxtaposition of colours on the objects.

 On 28 June 1870, Monet married Camille Doncieux and both lived in poverty partially due to the Franco Prussian war which broke out a month later.  Monet continued his painting and was inspired by the style and subject matter of Camille Pissarro and Edouard Manet.

Monet in his floating studio

In 1878, Monet lived in a village on the right bank of the Seine River near Paris and produced some paintings in the floating boat studio. Monet study on the effects of light and reflections on the water and surrounding objects, changed his mind set from scenes and objects to colours and shapes.

Claude Monet. Camille on her Death bed.In 1878 Camille Monet was diagnosed with uterine cancer and died on 5 September 1879 at the young age of 32.  Monet painted and analyse the colours in oil on his dead wife, which he said was both the joy and torment moment of his life.  John Berger described this painting as “a blizzard of white, grey, purplish paint…a terrible blizzard of loss which will forever efface her features.  In fact, there can be very few death-bed paintings which have been so intensely felt or subjectively expressive.”

During the early 1880s, Monet painted some landscapes and seascapes.  These began to evolve into series of painting of the same scene in different time in order to capture the changing light and the passing of the seasons.

His first series exhibited was of haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day.  In 1892 he produced his best-known series of 26 views of Rouen Cathedral.  In these paintings, Monet broke with painterly traditions by cropping the subject to change the focus on the play of light and shade instead of the building.

Musee L'OrangerieIn 1892, Monet married Alice Hoschede who had taken care of Monet two sons, Jean and Michel.  They moved to Giverny in 1883 and by November 1890 bought the house and the land around it, the family continued to develop the garden.  White water lilies local to France were planted along with imported ones resulting in a range of colours including yellow, blue and white lilies that turned pink with age.  Some of Monet large scale paintings on the water lilies pond were housed in Musee de l’Orangerie in France.

In 1899, Monet began to paint the water lilies pond with different views and the alternating and mirror-like reflections that became an integral part of his work.  By mid-1910, Monet has achieved a completely new, fluid and spontaneous abstract style of painting on the water lilies.

In 1923, Monet underwent two operations to remove his cataracts.  The effect of the failing sights was shown in some of his paintings.  Monet passed away on 5 December 1926 at age 86 of lung cancer.  He was buried in the Giverny church cemetery.

The Camille Pissarro Rose

Camille Pissarro RoseThere is a rose named for Camille Pissarro.  It was bred by G Delbard in France in 1996.  This bloom has unusual colours with yellow, pink and cream stripes and was dedicated to one of my favourite master who continually developed and courageously adapted to new theories in painting; Camille Pissarro (10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903), a Danish-French Impressionist painter.

Pissarro who insisted to paint common individual in natural settings without “artifice or grandeur” was often addressed as Pere Pissarro (father Pissarro) by the Impressionist painters not because he was the oldest among the group but also by virtue of his wisdom, balanced, kind and warm-hearted personality.  The father of modern painting, Paul Cezanne said “he was a father for me.  A man to consult and a little like the good Lord”.  Paul Gauguin considered Pissarro as one of his masters.  Pierre Auguste Renoir regarded Pissarro painting as “revolutionary”.

Pissarro was the only artist who had shown his work at all 8 Paris Impressionist exhibitions.  These exhibitions were staged by a group of Impressionist artists after being continually refused by the Salon (an academy in Paris which dictated the kind of art that was acceptable according to traditional canon).

Camille Pissarro. Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps (1897), oil on canvas.

Camille Pissarro. Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps (1897), oil on canvas.

During Pissarro younger days, he developed an appreciation for French art masters, even though his father preferred him to work in his business.  While working, Pissarro continued to practise drawing during his free time.  By age 21, Pissarro take on painting as a full-time profession.  In 1855, he moved back to Paris.  He was influenced by Camille Corot on outdoor painting known as au plein air and travelled to French countryside to paint the daily reality scenes of village life.  Unlike Corot who finished his paintings back in his studio, Pissarro preferred to finish his painting outdoors in one sitting, because he did not want to lose the first impression.

In 1885, Pissarro practised pointillism influenced by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.  But 4 years later, Pissarro dropped the theory as he thought the system was too artificial and impossible to render his sensations to life and movement and revert to his earlier Impressionist style.  But this detour also made his later paintings more refined.

In Pissarro old age, he was suffering from a recurring eye infection that prevented him from painting outdoors.  So he chose to paint from the room he resided during his travel, usually on higher level to gain broader views.  Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinee de Printemps (1897) was painted during this period.  Though Pissarro sold few of his paintings during his lifetime, this painting was sold at Sotheby’s London for around 19million British Pound in February 2014.

Pissarro passed away in Paris on 13 November 1903 and was buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

The Auguste Renoir Rose

Auguste Renoir RosePierre-Auguste Renoir was a French Impressionist artist, born 25 February 1841.  The rose named in his honour is a strong fragrance fuchsia bloom that is cupped, large and full with delicate reflexed petals.

Though other artists who operate on shock factors may disagree, but I share his philosophy on paintings:  To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.

 Renoir earlier journey in pursuit of painting was not smooth, although he displayed a talent for his work as porcelain apprentice, he often sought refuge in the galleries of the Lourve.  He started studying art in 1862 and has his first exhibition in 1864 but recognition was slow, partly as a result of the Franco-Prussian War.

In the late 1860s, during en plein air (outdoor) painting, he and Claude Monet discovered that the colour of shadows is not brown or black, but the reflected colour of the objects surrounding them, an effect known today as diffuse reflection.  After a series of rejections by the Salon juries, in April 1874, Renoir joined an Impressionist art show with Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and other artists, but the response for the show was not well-received by art critic.

Renoir is best known for his open-air scene crowded with people full of sparking colour and light.  But in mid 1880s, he shifted to a more disciplined formal techniques influenced by the Renaissance masters.  However, by 1890, he changed his direction again.  To dissolve outlines, as in his earlier work, he returned to thinly brushed colour.

In 1907 Renoir moved to the warmer climate of Les Collettes due to rheumatoid arthritis, even this illness severely limit his mobility Renoir continued to paint.  In old age, Renoir loved to paint flowers especially roses.  His failing eyesight led to his paintings being more expressive, the texture of the paint is thicker in circular strokes to depict the rose petals.

Renoir had created several thousand paintings, the warm sensuality of his style made his paintings well-known and frequently reproduced.  The largest single collection of his paintings, 181 pieces is at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.  Renoir passed away on 3 December 1919 in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.

The Anne Boleyn Rose

Anne Boleyn RoseAnne Boleyn born c1501 – 19 May 1536, was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII.

In 1526, Henry VIII began his pursuit of Anne, she resisted to become his mistress which her sister Mary Boleyn had been.  Anne Boleyn became on absorbing object of Henry’s desire to annul his marriage to Queen Catherine so he would be free to marry Anne.

The annulment was met with objection from the Pope.  But Henry and Anne were married on 25 January 1533.  The result of this marriage brought the Church of England under the King’s control instead of Rome.  Anne was crowned Queen of England on 1 June 1533.  On 7 September, she gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth I.  Anne’s marriage was strained for the failure to give Henry a son.  After Anne’s three miscarriages, Henry began to turn his attention to Jane Seymour.  In April 1536, Anne was investigated for high treason and was beheaded on 19 May.

After the coronation of her daughter, Elizabeth, as queen.  Anne was venerated as a martyr and heroine of the English Reformation.  She was mentioned in many artistic and cultural works and retained her influential image.

The Audrey Hepburn Rose

Audrey Hepburn (4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress, model, dancer and humanitarian.  Recognized as a film and fashion icon.

Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands with her father job posting.  She is able to speak Dutch and English and varying degree in French, Spanish and Italian.  But life is never a bed of roses for her.  During the Dutch famine of 1944 and 1945 and German occupation, Hepburn and her family had to use tulip bulbs to make flour for bread.  Due to malnutrition, she developed acute anemia, respiratory problems and edema.  After 1945, when the war ended, she moved to London to learn ballet but decided to concentrate on acting due to her health reason.

She shot to stardom for playing the lead role in Roman Holiday(1953) followed by a number of successful films, such as Sabrina(1954), The Nun’s story(1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s(1961), My Fair Lady(1964) etc.  After 1967, Hepburn appeared in fewer films and chose to devote more time to her family and UNICEF which she was involved in since 1954.

The rose bred by Jerry F Twomey named in honour of Audrey Hepburn is a classic beauty that is deep pink in bud and open up to a light pink and then almost white, high centered bloom with lush deep green foliage.  A hardy hybrid tea rose with a light, fruit scent and repeats well through the season.

The Anna Pavlova Rose

Anna Pavlova RoseA rose named after a Russian prima ballerina:  Anna Pavlova (12 February 1881 – 23 January 1931).  In 1981, a rose bred by English breeder, Peter Beales; of many petals with soft delicate pink colour and deeper shadings in the base is named after Anna Pavlova, in celebration of 100th Anniversary of her birth.  The large, globular flowers has strong scent with upright and firm stem and dark green foliage.

Anna Pavlova was a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries.  Most recognized for her creation of the role The Dying Swan.  Pavlova’s training in ballet did not come easily to her.  Her arched feet, thin ankles and long limbs clashed with the small, compact body favoured for the ballerina of the time and she was taunted by her fellow students.  Undeterred, Pavlova trained to improve her technique, she would practice and practice after learning a step and took extra lessons.  She said, “No one can arrive from being talented alone.  God gives talent, work transforms talent into genius.”

Pavlova graduated in 1899 at age 18 from the Imperial Ballet School.  She made her official debut at the Mariinsky Theatre, which drew praise from the critics.  She was named danseuse in 1902, premiere danseuse in1905 and prima ballerina in 1906 after a resounding performance in Giselle.

Since 1908, Pavlova has begun her tour performance abroad.  In 1907 she debuted in Stockholm.  After one of her performances, a crowd of audience followed her carriage silently to her hotel.  Pavlova go on the balcony to thank them and was met by a storm of applause.  She bowed, hurried to her room, pulled out the basket of flowers (gifts for her performances) and began to drop flowers in the crowd:  some roses, lilies, violets, lilacs….

 In 1912, Pavlova bought the “Ivy House” in London, England, where she lived for the rest of her life.  While touring in The Hague, Pavlova had pneumonia and required an operation but she would never be able to dance again.   She refused to have the surgery and said “If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead.”  She passed away on 23 January 1931 with her last words “Get my ‘Swan’ costume ready.”  In accordance with old ballet tradition, on the day she was to have performed, the show went on as scheduled with a single spotlight circling an empty stage where she would have been.

The Pavlova dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer in Wellington during her tour of New Zealand and Australia in the 1920s.  The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years.

The Albrecht Durer Rose

Albrecht Durer Rose

Albrecht Durer Rose

It is interesting to know that one of my favourite artists has a rose under his name:  Albrecht Durer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) a painter, printmaker and theorist of the German Renaissance.   The rose named in his honour has the colours that can only be described by a painter, peach blend, salmon, orange or even deep pink.

Durer left an autobiographical writings, so his life is well documented.  After a few years of school, Durer started to learn the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father.  Though his father wanted him to continue his training as a goldsmith, he showed more interest in drawing and started to learn under Michael Wolgemut at the age of 15 in 1486.  After completing his term of apprenticeship, Durer travel around Europe to continue his learning of drawing, different methods of printmaking and painting.

Durer worked on an essay on aesthetics between 1512 and 1528 about his theories on ‘ideal beauty’.   He believed that truth was hidden within nature and that there were rules which ordered beauty.  In his final draft, Durer believed that human creativity is spontaneous or inspired to a concept of ‘selective inward synthesis’, in other words, that an artist builds on a wealth of visual experiences in order to imagine beautiful things.

Durer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56.  His house and workshop is now a museum and a prominent Nuremberg landmark.  Durer is buried in Johannisfriedhof cemetery.

The Gertrude Jekyll Rose

Gertrude Jekyll was born on 29 November 1843.  She was an influential British horticulturist, garden designer, artist and writer.  She has created over 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

 Jekyll is remember for her painterly approach using “warm” and “cool” flower colours into the arrangement of the gardens she created.  Her theory of how to design with colour was influenced by colour wheel theory, painter JMW Turner and Impressionism.  Later in her life, she focused on the purpose of preservation on vast array of plants.

Besides gardening, Jekyll has written over 15 books, one of them is Colour in the Flower Garden.   Jekyll was also interested in traditional cottage furnishings and rural crafts, and concerned that they were disappearing.  Her book Old West Surrey (1904) records many aspects of 19th century country life with over 300 photographs taken by Jekyll.

Jekyll passed away on 8 December 1932 and is buried in the churchyard of Busbridge Church.  The monument was designed by Edwin Lutyens, an English architect, whom she had collaborated with on gardens for many of his houses.

Gertrude Jekyll, a pink, beautiful, large, rosette-shaped flower was bred by David Austin and named in her honour in 1986.  The most outstanding characteristic of this lovely rose is its beautiful and perfectly balanced Old Rose scent, often described as Old Rose fragrance.

The Graham Thomas Rose

Graham ThomasGraham Stuart Thomas was born in Cambridge on 3 April 1909.  He was an English BSc botanist, best known for his work with garden roses and preserving the heritage of old roses when many of them were on the verge of extinction.  He has written 19 books on gardening, many of which remain classics today.

Getrude Jerkyll was a mentor to the young Thomas, passing on her theories of garden design as an art.  She also influenced him on collecting old shrub and climbing rose varieties, many of which had fallen out of favour because they only flowered once during the season.

In 1983, a rose Graham Thomas, cultivated by David Austin was named in his honour.  Thomas passed away on 17 April 2003, at age 94.

The Pierre de Ronsard Rose

Pierre de Ronsard rose also known as Rosa Eden, is a light pink and white climbing rose.  The large, old-rose blooms is carmine-pink on the inside and creamy or ivory on the outside, with full petals of 55 to 60.  Due to the weight of its petals, flower heads are bowing.  This plant is often trained as climber along fence or other supports.  The blooms have a very light to moderate fragrance.

It is interesting how I was attracted to the rose first and decided to find out more about the person who is named in honour with.  This beautiful rose was named after a French Renaissance “prince of poets”, Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585).  One of his famous poems, Mignonne, allons voir si la rose (below and translated from French), is written in 1545, a delicate ode paying tribute to the beauty of women and nature:

Darling, let’s go see if the rose
Which had unfurled this morning
Its crimson dress to the Sun,
Has this evening has lost
The folds of its crimson dress,
And its complexion like yours.

Alas! See how, in a short space,
Darling, it has in this place,
Alas! alas, let its beauty fall!
Oh truly cruel Mother Nature,
Since such a flower lasts
Only from morning till evening!

So, if you believe me, darling,
While your age is flowering
In its greenest newness,
Gather, gather your youth
Since, as with this flower, old age
Will tarnish your beauty.

A Rose with No Petal

A rose may have no petal at all, it is named Rosa chinensis viridiflora, sometime known as Green RoseWhat appear to be petals of the flower are actually sepals.  The bud looks like the rose but when it opens there is no petals but the sepals that form the ‘flower’.  When there is no flower, there is no seed, how does it germinate?  Through cuttings.

This type of plant is said to be in cultivation since 1743.  It is usually used to complement other roses in floral arrangements.

Souvenir de la Malmaison

Souvenir de la MalmaisonThis rose is dedicated to Josephine de Beauharnais or more commonly known as the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte; Empress Josephine of France.  She purchased Chateau de Malmaison in 1799 and had it landscaped in an English garden style.  The garden was noted for its wide collections of rose species.

Pierre Joseph Redoute was commissioned by her to paint the roses from her garden.  Les Roses was published in 1817-20 with 168 plates of roses; 75-80 of the roses were grew in Malmasion garden.  Unfortunately the rose collections in Malmasion were not catalogued and the rose garden was left in neglect after Josephine’s death.

The rose, Souvenir de la Malmaison was named in her honour, 30 years after her death in 1844.  Large, loosely double, wavy petals of clear rose pink veined with deep pink, with strong fragrance.

Sweet Juliet

Sweet JulietThis rose is named after Juliet Capulet, a character in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  One of Juliet’s famous quote in the play is “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose.  By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Act II, Scene II).  A profound statement which suggested that a name is simply to distinguish one from another.  A rose, if named differently, would still smell as sweet.  It is a person that make a name instead of a name that make a person.

Sweet Juliet, is a shrub roses bred by David Austin.  Apricot in colour with neatly formed rosettes with fresh and strong tea rose scent.  I love this bloom especially when it is cupped like a bowl-shaped and not fully opened with the centre heavily petaled.

Smallest and Largest Roses

While looking at my small roses, I wondered how did the world largest roses looked like.  Google for the image was unsuccessful.  However, it was recorded that the largest rose is said to be bred by Nikita K Rulhoksoffski from San Onofre, California.  The rose is pink in colour and measure approximately 33 inches which is nearly 110cm in diameter.

Mini Rose

Mini Rose by Jase Lim

Perfoliated Rose

The phenomenon of flower perfoliation is now called proliferation.  It is a deformity, whereby the stem continues to grow through the open flower, usually centrally but occasionally to one side.  The picture below shown an example of a perfoliated rose illustrated by Pierre Joseph Redoute’s from his book titled The Roses. 

Perfoliated Rose

Perfoliated Rose by Pierre Joseph Redoute

A Rose for Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

‘Roald Dahl’ a new peach colour variety rose cultivated by David Austin to mark the 100 years birth of this beloved author, who also love gardening.  The young buds are a beautiful soft orange-red, the red reminiscent of the blush found on an actual peach. When fully open, they form medium-sized, cupped rosette blooms which are produced almost continuously with a mild fragrance. Despite their delicate appearance, they are robust enough to withstand even the most inclement weather.

The peach colour of the rose also brought to mind the eponymous peach in James and the Giant Peach, one of Roald Dahl’s best-loved novels.