Alas, I did not journey to France to visit Giverny. No, I visited the exhibit of Monet’s Garden at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
My friend Betsy and I decided we needed to take another one of our adventures, and this appealed to us. We began in the conservatory with this delightful reflected photograph of Monet’s famous waterlilies.
We progressed from there outdoors to visit the real thing.
The water garden was not part of the original property Monet purchased near Giverny. In fact, it lies across a set of railroad tracks. His plan to create the lily pond caused great consternation among his neighbors who feared his exotic plants would poison their water supply. He placated them by paying to have the local road paved (which also cut down on the dust drifting onto his plants). Neighbors haven’t changed much, have they?
Here’s a closeup of one of the fabulous flowers Monet captured so gorgeously in his paintings:
Next we found a recreation of the famous Japanese bridge, blessedly back indoors since the day had become quite hot.
We progressed past the bridge (after walking across it, of course. Who could resist?) to the Grande Allée recreated to match the brilliant colors and unstructured beds of Monet’s Giverny.
I’ve grafted two photos together to give you a sense of what it’s like to walk through the arches. The colors are glorious, with juxtapositions a non-artist would never attempt, like the one below.
The exhibit includes wonderful photographs from both the artist’s time and today, as well as letters Monet wrote about creating the garden (including his problems with the difficult neighbors). Two of his paintings are on display (also blissfully air-conditioned). However, despite his fame and success as a prolific painter (2,500 paintings!), here is what Monet had to say about his art: