Monet's Garden

Monet's Garden

Monet’s Garden: The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

edited by Marianne Mathieu et al.

National Gallery of Victoria, $69.95 hb, 216 pp, 9780724103706

Claude Monet as an emotive artist? Hitherto, I have viewed Monet’s painting – or at least Monet the Impressionist – as sensual but detached. Having seen Monet’s Garden at the National Gallery of Victoria, I am now of the view that the artist’s later painting (the exhibition focuses on the work made at Giverny from 1893 until the artist’s death in 1926) has a subliminal and even expressionist dimension. How else to characterise the elegiac quality of the wonderful water lily series and the late abstract-like garden paintings made with such abandon? Moreover, having learned more about Monet himself at this time, I appreciate that he was far more challenged by life experiences than I had presumed, in spite of the tremendous critical and commercial success he enjoyed in the last decades of his career.

In addition to the paintings in the exhibition, with their accompanying wall text, the essays and vignettes in the Monet’s Garden catalogue contribute much to one’s insight. While contextualising Monet’s Giverny period with earlier works that include examples from his London series, the catalogue text concentrates on the context of the garden itself. The creation of the Giverny garden, and its meanings both metaphorical and personal, are the primary concern.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Mark Dober

Mark Dober

Mark Dober is an artist and art writer who lives in Melbourne.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.