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“The Artist’s Garden” – secret spaces inspiring art

Submitted by on June 19, 2020 – 9:12 pmNo Comment

The Artist's GardenRoad Trips Gardeners no doubt know that some of the greatest painters in history were inspired by their gardens. Having a garden close to one’s home or studio is not only convenient for daily material and ideas, but also has the advantage of changing through the seasons and over time.

This book includes reproductions of some of the artists’ most famous works, as well as contemporary photographs of the gardens and vistas on which they are based.

Probably the best known is Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, France, but he’s definitely not the only artist inspired by nature. “The Artist’s Garden: The secret spaces that inspired great art“, by Jackie Bennett, spotlights the real homes and gardens that inspired great artists (and still can be visited today). Bennett, a former editor of “The Garden Design Journal” and “The English Garden”, has also written several books, including “Shakespeare’s Gardens”, “The Writer’s Garden”, “Wild Abut the Garden”, and “Island Gardens”.

She begins, quite unexpectedly, with Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). He spent the last years of his life at the Château du Close Lusé in the French Loire Valley at the invitation of King François I. Although the gardens have been altered many times over the years, it’s still possible to visit — or will be after the COVID-19 pandemic has eased and the attraction reopens to the public.

Next is Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640), who bought his house and property outside Antwerp, Belgium, in 1609. He modified both the house and its gardens over the years. It’s now a museum, and, open to visitors (in this time of coronavirus) by advance sale timed tickets.

Mont Saint-Victoire by CezanneThe home of Paul Cézanne (1819-1906) in Aix-en-Provence, France, is considered next. He painted his father’s villa often, including the gardens laid out originally in the 17th Century. Later, he bought land nearby at Les Lauves. Both sites are open to visitors (at right is Cézanne’s view of Mont Saint-Victoire from Les Lauves).

Did you know that Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s first job was painting flowers on china in a porcelain factory in his home town of Limoges, France? From there, the artist (1841-1919) went to the École des Beax-Arts in Paris. He bought a house and garden at Essoyes, which he featured often in his paintings. Du Côté des Renoir à Essoyes, which includes the family home, the artist’s studio, and a museum, has a website — alas! all in French.

Others included in the “artists at home and at work” section are Max Liebermann (Lake Wannsee, Germany), Joaquin Sorolla (Madrid, Spain), Henri Le Sidaner (Gerberoy, Picardie, France), Emil Nolde (Seebüll, Nordfriesland, Germany), Frida Kahlo (The Blue House, Coyacán, Mexico), and Salvador Dalí (Portlligat and Púbol, Spain).

The final section, “the artists’ community”, spotlights Monet and friends (Argenteuil, Vétheuil and Giverny, France), the Skagen painters (North Jutland, Denmark), the Kirkcudbright artists (Broughton House, Kirkcudbright, Scotland), William Morris and his circle (Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordsire, England), New England Impressionists (Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire, USA), German Expressionists (Murnau, Bavaria, Germany), and the Charleston artists. No — not that Charleston: Bennett writes about Charleston House (pictured, below) in Sussex, England, that housed Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, and the Bloomsbury Group.Charleston House, Sussex, England

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