Art Travel Guide

Monet’s Garden coming to life in New York Botanical Gardens

“I am only good at two things, and those are: gardening and painting”. – Claude Monet

Perhaps one of the most famous places for a series of paintings is Monet’s Garden at Giverny. It was at his home in the French countryside in the town Giverny, 45 miles outside of Paris, where he painted over 500 paintings.

Monet composed his gardens much the same as he composed his painting. With an artist’s eye for composition and a deep understanding and spiritual sense of color, Monet was the maestro in building his gardens.

From his gardens, from his own hand, Monet grew his own inspiration. He planted, doted upon and devoted his life to his canvas of gardens. This passion blossomed into his capturing the delicate beauty of his work through painting.

His paintings at Giverny, with its changing light and seasons, is unparalleled in Impressionism. He could focus on the same bridge, the same bed of flowers, the same spot of water lilies, yet never paint the same exact subject.

There is nothing like Monet’s study at Giverny… Until now…

The New York Botanical Garden’s new exhibit (opening Saturday May 19 – October 21), Monet’s Garden, is a breathtaking re-creation of Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny – both the Clos Normand, as well as the Oriental Water Garden.

Replicating Monet’s actual gardens as they currently are in Giverny, France the NYBG will provide a magical experience for the visitor.

Within the large, glass-enclosed conservatory, nearly every aspect of Monet’s Garden is recreated:  the green-shuttered, ivy-covered pink façade of his house, the famous Japanese bridge, and the arbor arches. The Conservatory is magically transformed into Monet’s world, so that the visitor suspends belief, transporting the mind and senses into strolling down the gravel path Grand Allee, surrounded by arbors of climbing roses and orange nasturtiums leading to the house.

Botanical Gardens New York - Water Lilies (pink)With splashes of yellows, oranges and reds amidst the fairytale garden glow of purples and pinks, it radiates an otherworldly feel. Roses, irises, delphiniums, wisteria, lavender, daisies, gladiolus, peonies, hydrangeas, poppies, tulips provide a vibrant floral kaleidoscope.

Outside the conservatory, the water lilies Monet cultivated, painted and made famous, once again bloom to delight visitors. Beginning in July, these water lilies, many of them the varieties Monet grew, are featured in the Conservatory Courtyard Pools.

But it’s not only the re-creation of the Clos Normand and the Oriental Water Garden that is of interest.

Two paintings– one of which has never been displayed for anywhere – are on display within the Rondina Gallery.  The painting, Irises, is on loan from a private collection in Switzerland – and this particular work is on display for the first time anywhere. Also on display?  His work, The Artist’s Garden in Giverny, on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery, as well as “other rare Monet artifacts including the artist’s palette, bills of sale for his plants, letters, historic photographs, and more.”

Additionally, says NYBG: “Seasons of Giverny, photographic portraits of Monet’s iconic garden, taken by the acclaimed photographer Elizabeth Murray, will be on display in the Ross Gallery revealing the beauty of Monet’s garden as it exists now.”

For an inside look at this exquisite exhibit: behind-the-scenes video of what is involved into putting the exhibit together, photos of the gardens of Giverny (present day), the paintings on display, the tools on display, the flowers, go to the New York Botanical Gardens site.

Monet didn’t need to look any farther than out his front door. All the inspiration he needed was right at home.

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”

Claude Monet

About the Author

I was raised in Wichita, KS and I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I paint the interior of my house according to the season and could not imagine a world without colors. I am a writer, mother, and grandmother - My motto in life has always been "Any day you wake up is going to be a good day".