Rhododendron in Tuxen’s Garden, Laurits Tuxen
With Mother’s Day exactly a week away, it’s definitely time to start planning a lovely day out with your Mum if you haven’t done so already. I happen to have the most perfect suggestion! A few weeks ago, I took my Mum along to the Royal Academy’s latest exhibition, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse. It was absolutely glorious and felt just like walking through the most luscious of gardens, with bursts of pinks, purples, reds and yellows everywhere you looked. As lovers of flowers (although not exactly talented gardeners!!), my Mum and I were completely enthralled, and I had a deja vu feeling of being back in Paris, where I’d first seen and admired so many of Monet’s work, including his iconic water lilies.
Water Lilies, Claude Monet
Monet to Matisse celebrates the important role gardens and flowers played in inspiring some of the world’s greatest Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists from the 1860s to the 1920s. The exhibition hosts an impressive 120+ paintings, featuring work by Sargent, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Kandinsky, Van Gough, Matisse, Klimt and many others.
Murnau The Garden II, Wassily Kandinsky
It was truly special to see so many works from several of my favourite artists under one roof. I was thrilled to admire some glorious John Singer Sargent paintings I’d never seen before, and who could ever tire of Monet’s Japanese bridge?
The Pond with Water Lilies, Claude Monet
The exhibition was busy, but we took our time, patiently waiting our turn to stand in front of each painting and admire the finer details up close. There were few barriers in front of the paintings, so it was possible to move in very close – a real treat! I felt rather as if I’d walked through a wardrobe into another kind of Narnia: one in which it was always summer, with everlasting blooms. Glorious!
Chrysanthemums, Dennis Miller Bunker
The Artist’s Garden at Giverny, Claude Monet
Poppies on the Isles of Shoals, Childe Hassam
There is a real treat at the end of the show: Monet’s Agapanthus Triptych, all three of which were specially reunited for this exhibition (and marks the first time they will be seen together in the UK). If you’re a Monet fan, I’d say it’s worth going only for that, but, honestly, there is treat after treat in store for you throughout the exhibition.
The exhibition is so vibrant and colourful, that it makes the perfect setting for a Mother / Daughter Day Out. The Royal Academy always puts on wonderful shows (remember my review of their former Ai Wei Wei exhibition?), and Membership would be a wonderful gift for any Mum who’s keen on culture, as it’ll save her any stress about booking tickets or having to plan ahead, as well as many other benefits.
Nasturtiums, Gustave Caillebotte
The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil, Claude Monet
After seeing the exhibition, it’s easy to spoil your Mum even more as there are so many fantastic places in the area. You could have a suitably decadent afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, Sketch, The Wolseley or The Park Lane Hotel. If you don’t fancy tea, then how about a bite to eat at Le Caprice, which also happens to offering some excellent deals for those who have booked to see either the Monet to Matisse or Vogue 100 exhibitions. You could also enjoy a simple lunch at the Rose Bakery, or a scrumptious cocktail at the RA’s Shenkman Bar (note the bar closes at 6pm on a Sunday).
Have any of you been to see the Monet to Matisse exhibition yet, or do you have plans to go? Have you enjoyed any other cultural outings in London lately? I saw the Alexander Calder exhibition yesterday, which was fantastic, and I’ve now seen Vogue 100 twice, with plans to go a few more times!