Finding Inspiration In Paris, Part 1

French impressionist painting have always been a major source of inspiration for us here at Lily Absinthe so for us, viewing impressionist artworks “in the wild,” so to say, was a major high point of our recent trip to Paris. 🙂 Some of our most favorite impressionist artworks are Monet’s various water lily paintings so it was an almost religious experience to view them up close and personal at Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.

Musée de l’Orangerie exterior.JPG

The Musée de l’Orangerie was originally built in 1852 and had a wide variety of uses before the building was re-configured in the early 1920s to house a series of large panel paintings of water lilies that was collectively named the Nymphéas. Below are a few selections:

Here’s the floor plan:


There are eight water lily paintings that surround the viewer, following the oval shape of the walls, each painting depicting water lilies at different times of the day, starting with the morning ending in the evening. The pictures below show a few of the paintings- our cell phone camera doesn’t do justice to it.

The pictures here really don’t do justice to the sheer visual spectacle on display- the colors blend, yet they also remain as separate entities, painting “blocks” if you will. Also, it’s interesting to note that the details of the various plants are depicted in an abstract manner- you don’t really see precise details, just a representation.

So how does this translate into fashion design? For us, it’s more a matter of how color is arranged and how light affects how we view color. For example, colors that would work nicely for a day dress that’s meant for wear both indoors and outdoors during the day do not necessarily work for an evening gown worn inside a ballroom that’s lit with gas, candles, or electricity (for a more full discussion on the effects of light on color, click HERE.

(To Be Continued…)

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