on collecting: en dehors de giverny

Dejeuner sur l'herbe, en dehors de Giverny, Septembre 1984--M. (à gauche), notre ami R. et l'auteur (à droit.) Photograph par B., le mari de R.

Our first experience driving in Paris was not unlike the effects of limited animation; it seemed as if we were constantly running past the same background as we looped around & around & around the Place de la Bastille–anchorless, visual clues absent, until at last we were shot forth from the round-about like a fusillade back into the Marais along Boulevard Beaumarchais and on our way out of the city; a day trip to Giverny with our friends.

The entrance to Monet's home.

This past week as I have mentally reconstructed the underlying reasons for my collecting obsession the metaphor of film-making has continually arisen.  Memories are but frames of the film of your life–some smoothly flicker clackety-clack on the white wall of your mind’s eye–others hesitate, freeze, stutter, stop and then start up again after the projectionist has re-spooled the filmstrip. My memory, as I imagine most of yours are too, is cued from the prompter’s box of photos that act as framing devices for the past (perhaps for the future, too.)

Monet's studio

The photographed experience oftentimes outperforms the actual event.   That time burnishes/polishes/conceals/destroys is, to the truth-seeker, a major impediment.  Little explosions of memory, bubbles bursting, bring the bounty of the experience, its essence sparkling (champagne!); a synapse the junction box of the brain transmitting each subtle signal/memory/thought/true or false.

If not the truth then, what are we left with after all?  Flattery/convenience/story.  When I dig deep for the impulses from my past that have propelled my collecting habits I peel back the skin, the tissue, the bone and there, there they lie, refulgent; a gilded cage set with gemstones each more brilliant/demanding than the next.

Monet's dining room

Several days ago, M. & I were discussing collecting influences and our trip to Giverny came up.  We plucked the photo-album out of the drawer and took a few minutes to reminisce/giggle/bathe in memory’s warm golden glow.   The sights, the sounds, the feelings (young love, good friends, exotic locales); when, as one, we looked each other in the eye and realized that unconsciously  Monet’s home at Giverny had had a great influence on our decor and collection.  (I am not, in any way, claiming to be as sophisticated as Claude Monet, either as a collector/designer/artistic vision.)

Monet's bedroom

Just as I know that Giverny has informed decisions M. & I  have made regarding our collection, I also must go back further in time and pay respect/kneel/give thanks to my mother, grand-mothers, aunts & uncles who encouraged me (by example) to collect maps/paper place-mats/rocks because they collected perfume bottles/paintings/glass/pottery/rocks/miniature liquor bottles and their instincts about decoration/pattern/display/memory still reside within me.

A corner in the author's home



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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