See it in flower or see it in paint – your choice!
There are a few places left on our Classic Gardens of France tour, leaving Sydney on May 23, but if you can’t make that don’t miss Monet’s Garden: The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. The exclusive exhibition of more than 60 works devoted to Monet’s iconic garden at Giverny opens at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne on May 10 and runs until September 8.
The Musee Marmottan holds one of the world’s largest collections of works by Monet and this is the first time they will be seen in Australia. The exhibition includes some photographs, such as this charming shot by an unknown photographer. Monet, in characteristic broad-brimmed hat and equally broad beard, is an almost ghostly figure in a picture that is all abut the bold plantings in the oval bed. The focus is on the exuberant red and pink geraniums, the spiky blue-grey foliage of the ring of dianthus, and the red-flowered, purple-leafed nasturtiums clambering up their rustic tripods.
Claude Monet outside his house at Giverny. 1921 photograph. 18.0 x 24.0 cm. Musee d’Orsay, Paris. Copyright Patrice Schmidt/Musee d’Orsay distribution RMN
The best-known images of the Giverny garden, though, are those that feature the waterlily pond. Monet first dug the pond when he bought a neighbouring piece of land on the other side of the railway, a decade after he arrived at Giverny. He styled the pond after the Japanese prints he collected and admired, and extended and redesigned it in 1901, fringing it with bamboos, iris and agapanthus and planting a variety of lilies. This painting is from 1903.
Claude MONET, French 1840-1903. Waterlilies (Nympheas) (1903) oil on canvas, 73.0 x 92.0 cm. Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris Gift of Michel Monet, 1966 (inv. 5163) Copyright Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris. Copyright Bridgeman-Giraudon/Presse
Here’s what the waterlily pond looked like when Linda Ross toured with a group of Ross travellers.
And from our files, here’s a part of the garden around the house, showing the rose arches over the wide gravel path. In spring the perennial borders are planted in cool tones of violet, blue and white. The colour heats up over the season so that by the end of summer the beds are a riot of red, orange and gold, with the trailing nasturtiums that Monet loved galloping across the gravel.
The exhibition at the NGV concludes with a filmic installation called ‘The Last Day at Giverny’ and presents a sunrise to sunset look at the garden.
If you’d like to see Monet’s garden live this year yourself, check out our Classic Gardens of France itinerary.
If not this year, a day at Monet’s Garden at the National gallery of Victoria is a perfect bookend to our Victoria- Gardens and Gourmet tour, which finishes up in Melbourne on May 7. If you’re booked on the tour and would like to extend your accommodation for another few nights call Ros on 1300 233 200.