“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” —Claude Monet
Monet’s Garden, an exhibition at The New York Botanical Garden from May 19 through October 21, 2012, will examine the life and work of the Impressionist master by highlighting his passion for gardening and the inspiration he drew from his living masterpiece, the garden on the grounds of his home in Giverny, France, according to a press release from the botanical garden.
Among the many attractions of the exhibition will be two rarely seen floral paintings by Monet, one of which has never been displayed in the United States. Also on view will be Monet’s own palette with colors on its surface similar to those visitors will see on his paintings hanging nearby, and rare photographs of him and his gardens, offering intimate insight into his world. Monet’s Garden will be a multifaceted exhibition with components in several venues throughout the Botanical Garden and a rich assortment of programming that includes tours, concerts, film screenings, family activities, poetry readings, and a photography exhibit. The curator for this exhibition is Dr. Paul Hayes Tucker, one of America’s foremost authorities on Monet and
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers,” said Monet.
Monet’s Garden will explore the legacy of the artist’s idyllic gardens in Giverny, transforming the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a seasonally changing floral masterpiece of diverse plants, bold colors, and dramatic design.
Starting in July, Monet’s most famous subjects, water lilies, many of them the varieties he grew, will be featured in the Conservatory Courtyard Pools.
Designed by Tony Award-winning set designer Scott Pask, a façade of Monet’s house will offer a
glimpse of the artist’s view of his garden and the flowers he grew and depicted in his paintings.
Other set pieces will include a re-creation of his iconic Japanese footbridge and his Grande Allée, draped with flowers.
During the summer, in the Conservatory Courtyard’s Hardy Pool, the Garden’s collection of water lilies will offer visitors the perfect chance to see firsthand the plants that Monet collected for his water garden and painted in his famous Nymphéas series.
Interpretive signage throughout the Conservatory show, some featuring images of Monet’s paintings, will provide the historical and artistic context for the flower displays.
The Artist in the Garden
The exhibition in the Rondina Gallery of the Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library will communicate Monet’s personal engagement with his gardens as well as their intimacy and richness. One of the two Monet paintings on view depicts the iris garden at Giverny from the Yale University Art Gallery, capturing the intensity of the flower garden’s colors, and the other from a private collection in Switzerland, depicting a dense arrangement of irises with such
vitality as to leave no doubt about Monet’s complete devotion to botanical affairs. The
two are ideally paired and have never been displayed together in any exhibition.
Also on view will be one of Monet’s own paint palettes, on loan from the Musée Marmottan
Monet in Paris. The palette was used to create his art, with colors on its surface similar to those visitors will see on his Claude Monet.
Photographs of Giverny in different seasons by Elizabeth Murray, who gardened at and helped with the restoration of Monet’s estate, will be on view in Seasons in Giverny, an exhibit in the Garden’s Ross Gallery. Her photographs will also be highlighted throughout the Conservatory flower show.
The New York Botanical Garden is collaborating with The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a customized iPhone application that will add an interactive element to the exhibition experience. Tour stops throughout the Conservatory and in the Rondina Gallery will provide additional information and images about the exhibition.
On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors will enjoy the Monet Double Feature, screenings of Monet-related films. On select weekend days throughout the exhibition, Monet to Mallarmé: The Salon Series will present readings by contemporary poets of their favorite French Impressionist poetry along with their own nature-inspired work (co-presented with the Poetry Society of America).
For more information, visit wwwnybg.org or call 718-817-8700.