Monet’s Garden: Inspiring Fine Art & First-Class Cuisine

Photographs by Derek Fell from Monet’s Palate: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.
Photograph by Derek Fell from Monet’s Palate: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.

Fine art and food are not necessarily natural bed partners, although for city travelers they are both essential elements of a world-class vacation—particularly in Europe. Both are also integral to the Celebrity Cruises® modern luxury experience, not to mention that the preparation of fine food is itself an art form that so many of us delight in—whether as creators or consumers.

A new cookbook, Monet’s Palate Cookbook, by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell (Gibbs Smith), speaks to two of Claude Monet’s lesser-known passions—gardening and fine cuisine—shedding light on the private life of the very public painter. Though many art lovers are more than familiar with the Giverny house where Monet lived and its garden, which boasted the now infamous waterlillies heralded by the green Japanese bridge, food lovers will delight in uncovering the detailed description of Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden, as well as the recipes it has inspired.

From the archives of Claude Monet
From the archives of Claude Monet

Monet once said “The only two things I’m good at are painting and gardening.”  An early practitioner of farm-to-table, he had a gourmet palate and supplied his daily table with the best of French cooking, even raising his own free-range chickens, turkeys and ducks – all of which provided motifs for his work.

The cookbook, a spin-off of the same-named documentary, and which features a foreword by Meryl Streep, includes recipes that are not only French in origin, but also those inspired by Monet’s extensive travels abroad. These include the Yorkshire pudding from London’s Savoy Hotel, zucchini pasta from the Italian Riviera, sautéed salmon from Norway, and banana ice cream from North Africa.

The artist—and the cookbook—have been a huge source of inspiration for one of our Park West Gallery artists, Marko Mavrovich, who spent one of his trips to Giverny literally following in Monet’s footsteps.

“I had to go there, I had to walk that Japanese bridge, I had to be there, I had to smell it, to drink the wine, eat the cheese,” he says. “I thought ‘wow, this is it, I’m going to go home to my studio in Los Angeles and paint like Monet.’”

What actually happened, though, was that he was able to gather a sense of that connection Monet had with nature. When Marko returned to the studio, he was able to infuse his own impressionistic style into painting water lilies.

Just as Monet was inspired by his gardens, Marko also finds inspiration from nature – more specifically, the poppy. Growing up in Croatia, Marko enjoyed a delicacy that mixed poppy seeds with honey into a sugary cake. When he paints the flowers, he says feelings of nostalgia wash over him that he hopes to convey to viewers.

Marko loves to sample foods during his trips abroad as well. He has been to locations in Italy, Argentina and Spain to not only seek inspiration, but culinary adventures.

“If I travel somewhere, of course I love the landscapes, but the food has to agree with me too,” he says with a chuckle.

Collecting Marko with Celebrity Cruises

Painting by Marko Mavrovich
Painting by Marko Mavrovich

Marko’s artwork is available to collect through Park West Gallery’s onboard art auctions at sea, and you could even be lucky enough to start your collection with a complimentary work offered exclusively by Celebrity Cruises as a BINGO prize.

For more information, visit www.parkwestgallery.com

Paint as an Impressionist

Want to take the experience one step further? Follow in the footsteps of France’s famous Impressionist artists as you enjoy the unique opportunity of creating your very own Impressionist-style painting. After meeting your guide and driver at the port, you’ll set off to Rouen for a day of inspiration. First, you’ll take a guided tour of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen and its Impressionist rooms, where you can admire an array of works by renowned artists like Monet, Renoir, and Degas.  The morning concludes with a walking tour of the city—passing the Justice court, the Old Clock, the Cathedral, and the Old Market Square—before breaking for a delicious Norman lunch at a local restaurant. Refueled, take a leisurely walk to Monet’s Studio, located in front of the Cathedral, where a local artist will lead you in your Impressionist-themed painting course to create your very own masterpiece—a unique memento of your incredible experience.

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