Monet paints in freezing London: "I have something like 64 canvases covered with colors"
ALS in French, signed “Your old Claude,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 8, Savoy Hotel letterhead, March 18, 1900. Letter to his wife Alice, in part (roughly translated): "My good darling, I do not know if you have the same weather like me but it was sharply frozen here. When I woke up everything was white which doesn’t bring good weather, and indeed since the lunch it’s been terribly windy, snowy and so on, which didn’t prevent me from being under the showers before 6 AM this morning, and it was pretty beautiful. Every morning I'm quite excited until the weather embarrasses me. Today was a terrible struggle and it will be so until the day of the departure.
The canvases alone have failed me; because it's the only way to achieve something by putting in any weather, all the harmonies, it's the real way, and at the beginning we always think of finding to recovery his effects and finish them, that is result of those poor transformations which are useless. You can see that it’s not a lack of ardor as I have something like 64 canvases covered with colors, and I would need more but this country is not normal. So I will order for canvases again (what a bill I'm going to have at Lechertier's) and you do not worry about that. For my return I said that I will go in the first days of April and it will be. But what do you want me to do when I do not have one of the desired effects wanted? Do nothing or transforming that is the worst thing to do.
It is always better to carry on the fight and start and I regret that I did not do it right from the start. Of course with the good weather of this morning I did not meet Michel, if he’s gone away he must have had some trouble with this terrible wind. I hope for your Sunday the weather was more lenient at Giverny but I don’t think so. I’m thinking of my poor fruit trees and flowers. But I hope you take care of them. If the cold is going on it might be good to bring back home the peonies of Japan. You have to think of that. I still have no news from Mr. Hunter any more as Sargent [the American painter John Singer Sargent] who came to see me and had lunch with me 8 days ago, and who did not give any sign of life. I must have offended Mrs. Hunter by my frankness. But how can we lie to ourselves when someone asks you the truth? I’ve always wanted to tell you about a wounded officer. I had some news about it yesterday, but they have not arrived yet. They will have all the 6th floor that is ready for them. I hope you have had everyone today and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. All my thoughts, my dear wife. I kiss you as I love you like Germaine. Say good things to Miss Jeanne." In fine condition.
At the beginning of February 1900, Monet returned to London to capture the mists on the Thames. He moved to the Savoy Hotel, and from his bedroom, he executed a series of paintings of Parliament and bridges of Waterloo and Charing Cross. In this remarkable letter, he discusses the difficulty of his work in the cold and rainy London weather, his son Michel, and visiting with fellow painter John Singer Sargent. He also references his famous gardens at his home in Giverny, as well as his fascination with Japanese peonies. A beautiful, remarkable letter from the renowned Impressionist.