Exhibition on Screen, The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism


Digital Screening Room Fri, Apr 17
Film Info
Genre:Documentary Feature


Taking its lead from French artists like Renoir and Monet, the American Impressionist movement followed its own path which over a forty-year period reveals as much about America as a nation as it does about its art as a creative power-house. It's a stroy closely tied to a love of gardens and a desire to preserve nature in a rapidly urbanizing national Traveling to studios, gardens and iconic locations throughout the United States, UK and France, this mesmerising film is a feast for the eyes.

In 1886, the French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel brought a selection of his huge stock of Impressionist paintings to New York, changing the course of art in America forever. American artists flocked to the French village of Giverny, home to the master impressoinist Claude Money, and cheered the French new wave; painting outdoors with a new found brilliance and vitality. As Europe recoiled against the work of MOnehy, Degas and Renoir, Americans embraced it and created their own style of Impressionism. The timing of Durand-Ruel's transformative visit was perfect.

As America steamed into the Industrial Age, urban reformers fought to create public parks and gardens; patches of beautiy amid smokestacks and ash heaps. These gardens provided unlimited inspiration for artists and a never-ending oasis for the growing middle class, made up of increasingly independent women, who relished the writings of English horticulturalists Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson. Meanwhile, the rise of wide-circulation magazines cultivated the idea that gardening was a path to spiritual renewal amid industrail blight and the belief that artists should work in native landscapes. As America made its epic move from a nation of farmers to a land of factories, the pioneering American Impressionists crafted a sumptuous visual language that told the stor of an era.

Directed by Phil Grabsky; Narrated by Gillian Anderson

Virtual Conversation with Mary Birmingham, curator of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Friday May 15 at 5 pm

Virtual Conversation with Mary Birmingham, Curator at the Visual Arts Center of NJ

Directed by Phil Grabsky; Narrated by Gillian Anderson

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 colour, 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 colour, light and atmosphere, the garden has occupied the creative minds of some of the worlds greatest artists. As Monet said, ‘Apart from painting and gardening, I’m no good at anything’. For lovers of art or lovers of gardens, this is an ideal film.