Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to MatisseBy Monty Don and Ann Dumas
While depictions of gardens are found across the centuries and around the world, within Europe the Impressionists were among the first to portray gardens directly from life, focusing on their colour and form rather than using them as a background for historical, religious and literary themes. This volume explores the close, symbiotic relationship between artists and gardens that developed during the latter part of the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth centuries, centring on Monet, a great horticulturalist as well as a great artist, and the creation of his garden at Giverny, where he painted his Water Lilies series. I owe it to flowers, he wrote, that I have become a painter. Beautifully illustrated with masterpieces from Monet and fellow Impressionists, and from later painters such as Bonnard, Sargent, Klee, Kandinsky and Matisse Painting the Modern Garden traces the changing influences of artistic movements and social and political effects on the garden in modern art. Chapters explore the aesthetic importance of gardens to these artists, and also their significance as utopian spaces of imagination and reverie, as well as of spiritual refuge.