1915 film footage of Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas

Originally published at: 1915 film footage of Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas | Boing Boing




I love footage like that. Its a reminder that all of those brilliant artists where living breathing (and smoking) human beings like you and me.


This with the music was wonderful. You could see how happy Rodin looks as he smiles after happily chiseling away like a little beaver with a chisel.

This really made me smile. I hope I’m that busy and happy when I’m an old man.


Aww, noo. I don’t want to be the one that rains on your parade, but most of Rodin’s sculptures were small (I have seen some of the originals in the Glyptotek in Copenhagen, and you could pick up the original for ‘The Kiss’, and ‘The Thinker’): he had someone else with a pantograph make bigger copies. I fear he is smiling like a chipmunk because he hasn’t touched a piece of marble in ages. It is marble, I reckon: it’s tough stuff. Michaelangelo was whacking that stuff beyond his 90th, but he was a legend.

Renoir has a gadget tied into his hand. It seems it is a little more complicated then I described in an earlier post, because he has some lady swapping brushes for him. But the poor guy will have been in pain from arthritis for over twenty years when this as taken. He looks chipper, all things considered. But don’t ask how he paints those lovely paintings when he drops his fork…

Monet is as good as ever. I was visiting my parent’s place in France (can’t go there now because Brexit) and someone had planted waterlilies in a local pond, and that was pure Monet. If you can get to Paris, see his waterlilies in the elliptical room in the “Jeu the Paume” museum. Can you imagine painting a 360-degree elliptical canvas? I could do the maths of the projection but he just got out his stepladder and did it. Damn.


If he commissioned the bigger pieces directly, and they were copied from his smaller works with a 3d pantograph, they still count, though I did not know this.

Isamu Noguchi is another favorite. I used to live near his final work, Moerenuma Park, on the outskirts of Sapporo. It’s a giant open air geosculpture park with a glass pyramid gallery in part of it.

I used to bike to it late at night in winter, when it was technically closed, but there was no formal entrance gate. I’d go climb the artifical mountain in the snow at night and watch the sun set over the plains at twilight in the distance, and watch the stars come out over the mountain range flanking the city on the other side of it.

It’s a stunningly beautiful place, especially in fall at twilight.


Seeing the garden at Giverny, alive and swaying though in B&W, is especially poignant. One recognises it immediately from the Impressionist works painted by an artist who had (at the time of the film) failing eyesight but the continuing talent and genius to capture the truth of the scene. Combined with Monet’s lack of affect in front of the camera, it captures a special moment.

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If there is footage of Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas, where did they hide all the film and radio interviews with Nikola Tesla, who died in 1943?

It’s at Comet PingPong…

…in the basement!

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