Apartment living does have its drawbacks. Being able to throw open the back door onto a lush garden is one of them, especially on a warm summers’ day. It’s what I missed when living in NYC. Instead, I’d be hot footing it into Riverside Park with my little one loose on her scooter, whilst I trotted behind her laden with sun cream, snacks, drinks and ‘just in case’ things that I thought I would need but, as was usually the case, didn’t.
Now that I’m back in England I have a small plot out back; a blank canvas that can be cultivated (one hopes) into a worthy garden where I can fling open the back doors in the summer and enjoy its flora…Wait! Do we ever have a summer in England?
Anyway, I’m in need of some inspiration with what to plant etc, so I was very happy to be invited to see Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Our time slot was 1pm and it was, unsurprisingly, very busy. Tickets firmly in hand we made our way to the audio-guide centre (much needed in any exhibition) and headed towards the gallery.
Once I pressed play I was immersed in the horticultural world of (in my opinion) the greatest artist-gardener of all time: Claude Monet. His inspiration from his gardens (Argenteuil and Giverny), so beautifully cultivated, shows on every brush stroke. An abundance of sunflowers, irises, roses, lilacs and water lilies bloomed beyond their frames.
There is much to devour at this exhibit, after all this was a time of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists who explored the theme of the modern garden. With over 120 works of art, or rather masterpieces, I took my time and was thankful for the audio-guide. I should really do a roll call: Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.
Not only is it an impressive exhibition, it’s visually stunning too. Most importantly though is Monet’s monumental Agapanthus Triptych. Shown in the UK for the first time, it’s a joyous scene to behold.
And whilst my garden remains a blank canvas for now, I have a little inspiration from the Master.
Until next time x
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse from 30 January until 20 April 2016