Last weekend I saw the new 'Monet's Garden' exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden and it is a terrific show! Just wonderful. I forgot my camera (again), but the photos above feature some of the flowers that are in the garden beds inside the Conservatory. I won't spoil it by telling you everything about the show but I will say that if you have visited Giverny, Monet's home outside of Paris in Normandy, you will really be impressed by what the NYBG staff has done. If you've not yet been to Giverny, you'll really want to go!
Monet's house museum in Giverny, 75 kilometers west of Paris, welcomes approximately 500,000 visitors a year -- during the seven months it's open -- and is the second most visited site in Normandy. "My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece" Monet famously said, and he wasn't just superficially interested in what was growing on his property. "My garden is a slow work," he noted, "pursued with love and I do not deny that I am proud of it. Forty years ago, when I established myself here, there was nothing but a farmhouse and a poor orchard...I bought the house and little by little I enlarged and organized it...I dug, planted, weeded, myself; in the evenings the children watered."
The NYBG's show includes an exhibit of two rarely seen Monet paintings and his palette in the Rondina Gallery; the Monet to Mallarme Poetry Walk in the Perennial Garden; photographs of Giverny by professional gardener and acclaimed photographer Elizabeth Murray, who helped to restore the Giverny gardens in the 1980s and who is the author of the 20th anniversary edition of Monet's Passion: Ideas, Inspiration and Insights from the Painter's Gardens, Pomegranate, 2010) in Ross Hall; and lots of special events (films, concerts, poetry readings, and hands-on art for kids).
The exhibit is curated by Dr. Paul Hayes Tucker, considered one of America's foremost authorities on Monet and Impressionism, and his Claude Monet: Life and Art (Yale University Press, 1998) has been a favorite book of mine. Additionally, I highly recommend Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism by Daniel Wildenstein (Taschen, 2010); and Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell (Broadway, 2011) for companion reading.
'Monet's Garden' runs through the 21st of October -- don't miss it!