Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian // theadelaidian.net/author/georgina-tselekidis
My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece - Claude Monet
Directed by Phil Grabsky and narrated by Gillian Anderson, The Artist's Garden is a retrospective look into one of the greatest art genres of all time, Impressionism. Known for its delicate features, mesmerising colour use and depiction of nature's infinite beauty, Impressionism took its lead from French artists like Renoir, and of course, Claude Monet. The American Impressionist movement was influenced by the French painters, who reinterpreted the love of gardens within a rapidly urbanizing nation.
For any art lover, this documentary provides us with a variety of beautiful scenic locations, as Grabsky covers Impressionism outside of its birthplace. Travelling to other iconic locations throughout the United States, UK and France, we are taken along a journey that feels a little like an educational excursion, learning more about this much-loved arts genre that perhaps doesn't get as much exposure as it should. When we think of Impressionism, we think of the European greats like Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Matisse, Manet, and Cassatt, who changed the course of Impressionism in America, but we don't really know why they made such a significant impact.
French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel brought a vast selection of his stock of Impressionist paintings to New York in 1886, which sparked a keen interest and awe into the beauty encapsulated in each piece of work. Because America was heading into a new Industrial age, artists yearned to capture the essence of the purity, serenity and delicateness that exists in nature. But we also learn that part of the Impressionist idea was to capture the split second of life, and fleeting moments that pass so quickly. They attempted to document this on canvas, which is why Impressionism is so full of life - the colours are vivid, bold yet translucent in areas, non-symmetrical, and a sense of movement is seen and felt through the established brushstrokes that are of a gestural and spontaneous quality.
Light was also another significant aspect of Impressionism. The way the weather changed and seasons moved, as well as other shifts in the atmosphere. We learn more about this in The Artist's Garden. Although many of us assume their art solely relied on realistic depictions, we are made to consider the other possibilities that form the Impressionist movement. Americans embraced this and created their own style of Impressionism, with many key artists like Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, and Theodore Robinson, all known for their imprint in the American Impressionist era.
These artists look beyond the cities to find inspiration for their work, searching for landscapes that could provide a sense of peace, like Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France. They desired to get back to nature with others who felt the same and were looking to escape the city heat and to create art. The garden was their sanctuary, and a place they could 'paint without using a paintbrush'. Gardening to these artists was perceived as a form and extension of their artistic practice, and in The Artist's Garden, we learn how and why this is true. The film is a beautiful historical timeline of Impressionism, and is put together by well-informed curators and art historians who delve into the motivation behind artworks from a remarkable and revolutionary art genre that remains greatly respected today.
The Artist's Garden is playing for only two sessions at Palace Nova on 25 and 26 March, 2017.