Monet, Satie And Debussy: So Much Great Art Comes From Creative Solitude

January 17, 2020
Claude MonetClaude MonetPublic Domain
Portrait photograph of the French impressionist painter Claude Monet by Nadar.
Monet And Creative Solitude

Impressionist painter Claude Monet said his art was only for himself – “By nature, that means I’m selfish.”  

The Parisian Impressionist composer Erik Satie may have had similar feelings. Both were eccentrics. Satie was a loner despite his associations with Claude Debussy, a young Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. He lived alone, had few visitors and often drank too much. The composer owned two baby grand pianos, stacked on top of one another. One was stuffed with correspondence and scores. Then, there were the umbrellas.  After his death, Satie’s family found one hundred of them in his sad apartment. It’s been said that Erik Satie had one romantic relationship and out of its failure came a lifelong broken heart

Now mix this solo artistry with a healthy dose of arrogance, and you get Claude Debussy. A close friend once said of him “I honestly don’t know if Debussy loved anybody really. He loved his music—and perhaps himself—he was wrapped up in his genius.”  And Debussy was, to put it mildly, difficult- , with strong opinions.

He was called “a painter in sound.” And no one said “impressionism” more than this emotionally isolated man with his daring, forward leaning chords.

Monet Mondays airs Mondays through Jan 27, 2020 on CPR Classical at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.. Listen to CPR Classical on your radio at 88.1 FM in Denver, stream the music on this website, or by asking your smart speaker to "Play CPR Classical." (Find other ways to listen.)


For a limited time, if you become a member of Colorado Public Radio, you can select "Music in Monet's Time," as a thank you gift. This custom CD of great Impressionist music was created by CPR Classical in partnership with the Denver Art Museum.

Music in Monet's Time CD