Impressionists: Bringing gardens to the foreground
Monday 26 July 2010
Gardens are an enduring motif in artwork, usually as a picturesque setting for a picnic scene, tea on the lawn or a child picking flowers. But for the Impressionists in Paris in the 19th Century, a movement which coincided with an explosion in enthusiasm for domestic horticulture, gardens became a subject in their own right and not simply a convenient backdrop.
The Impressionists and their gardens forms the basis of a major exhibition, entitled 'Impressionist Gardens,' which opens at the National Gallery of Scotland on Friday, in celebration of the fashionably wild spaces strewn with rambling foliage and overgrown grass they captured in paint.
Garden scenes by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley will appear alongside some by Édouard Manet, who didn’t consider himself an Impressionist, as well as works by a generation of painters who worked immediately after the Impressionists, including Paul Cezanne and Pierre Bonnard.
The exhibition examines the influence on the art of the time of a growth of interest in leisure gardens in France in the late 1800s – signified by the surge in importation of exotic plants like dahlias, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas from the colonies-, as well as the increasing availability of public gardens in the urban landscape.
Pissarro’s ‘The Public Garden at Pointoise’ and Monet’s ‘Parc Monceau’ are tributes to the public spaces of Paris. While Berth Morisot and Renoir’s garden scenes are bold, un-regimented depictions of wild gardens, featuring flower-picking children, large splodges of paint and a riot of colour. Sisley’s ‘The Fields’ provides a more muted and practical pastoral landscape, similar to Pissaro’s ‘Kitchen Gardens at L’Hermitage.’
‘The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil (A Corner of the Garden with Dahalias)’ and ‘The Garden at Vetheuil’ are a testament the importance Monet (arguably the most important Impressionist painter) placed on his own domestic gardens. Monet claimed that in cultivating Giverny – where he painted his world famous water lilies, three examples of which form a highlight of this exhibition-- he had created ‘his most beautiful work of art.’
The 100 exhibited works have been loaned from private collections around the world as well as from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington; the Musee s’Orsay in Paris and the Tate Britain in London, among others.
'Impressionist Garden's opens 31 July to 17 October at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, nationalgalleries.org , admission £10/£7
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture