Because of the popularity of Exhibition on Screen’s art film series shown monthly in the winter at Harbor Theater, a summer offering is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. (with speaker and refreshments). An additional screening will be held Saturday, Aug. 10 at 11 a.m. (film only).
“Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse” explores the intriguing relationship between the world’s greatest artists and horticulture. At Friday afternoon’s screening, we are fortunate to have Coastal Maine Botanical Garden’s Vanessa Nesvig introduce the film and stay afterwards for a question and answer session.
Nesvig is the Interpretation and Exhibits Coordinator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. She is a professional painter and avid gardener who also enjoys visiting artist’s gardens while traveling. Loving art and nature, she understands the close relationship between cultivating a garden and the artist’s inspiration to capture it in paint.
The film will transport viewers across Europe to some of the most beautiful gardens depicted in art, from Monet’s water lilies at Giverny to Bonnard’s privately owned garden in Vernonnet.
Claude Monet was an avid horticulturist and arguably the most important painter of gardens in the history of art but he was not alone. Great artists like Van Gogh, Bonnard, Sorolla, Sargent, Pissarro and Matisse all saw the garden as a powerful subject for their art. These great artists, along with many other famous names, are featured in an innovative and extensive film based on the exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts, London.
From the exhibition walls to the wonder and beauty of artists’ gardens like Giverny and Seebüll, the film takes a magical and widely travelled journey to discover how different contemporaries of Monet built and cultivated modern gardens to explore expressive motifs, abstract color, decorative design and utopian ideas. Guided by passionate curators, artists and garden enthusiasts, this remarkable collection of Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century will reveal the rise of the modern garden in popular culture and the public’s enduring fascination with gardens today. Long considered spaces for expressing color, light and atmosphere, the garden has occupied the creative minds of some of the world’s greatest artists.
For Monet, the garden itself was a work of art, and he enjoyed the restorative power of gardening. He was one of the first to depart from the static Victorian formal garden to plant blocks of color with a looser effect, allowing the plants to express themselves in a natural way. He planted flowers in the color combinations he wanted to paint, and found different feelings elicited by painting them in the changing light from morning to evening. He said he was never bored in the garden. It was his greatest joy. “Apart from painting and gardening, I’m no good at anything,” he once said.
For lovers of art or lovers of gardens, this should be a fascinating film. Tickets are $10 ($8 for members) and Friday’s show will include free refreshments starting at 1:30 p.m.