Firstly to say a funny name for this exhibition, I think it gives one the impression that there will be a fair few pictures from Monet and Matisse featured in the exhibition. Lots of paintings by Monet but only two (if I remember correctly) by Matisse. Anyway I still recommend this exhibition, not just for the two aforementioned big names, but for the other artists featured of which a few I had never heard of , and for me personally had executed some of the best paintings in the show.
First up Santiago Rusiñol (1861-1931), a Catalan modernist painter. In one of the rooms his painting ‘Jardines de Aranjuez’ dominates the room with it’s fiery golden glow of receding trees,a backdrop to a single white foliaged tree standing dead centre in a grassy circle surrounded by flower beds. No internet search reproduces this image true to the intense colour as seen in the gallery. The orange glow seemed to illuminate beyond the painting itself.
Another Rusiñol painting that caught my eye is the one below ‘The Green Wall’, again the colour in the below image does not reflect the vibrancy of the original. The perspective in this image is so skillfully executed: the path is just pulling the viewer to step into this picture and explore; the path leading us downwards but the vertically rising walls enticing us up.
You can view numerous works by Rusiñol here www.allpaintings.org/v/Art+Nouveau/Santiago+Rusinol+Prats/?g2_page=1
Another Spanish artist that I was impressed by was Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923), his paintings are very lively, playing with colour contrasts, light and shade, form and movement. I can’t find any images online for my favourite pictures from the exhibition. During my research I did discover that his home and garden in Madrid is now a museum to his works, and there is a fantastic virtual tour through the property:
Another artist I hadn’t come across before is Henri Le Sidaner (1862-1939) a French artist, who when asked what school (of art) he belonged to, said: ‘None. But if you absolutely insist on categorising me, I am an intimist.’ The paintings below ‘Steps, Gerberoy’ and ‘Le Pavillion’ in reality have a much more opalescent painted effect, which creates a dreamy atmosphere, as if between two breaths something magical might happen. Again the colours in these images do not justice to the real paintings.
Okay I will finish up with two big name artists, and two paintings I hadn’t seen before, Edvard Munch ‘Apple Tree in the Garden’ and Raoul Dufy ‘The Little Palm Tree’. Wonderful colours and brushwork, oh to be able to walk into any of these paintings would be a joy.
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse is on at The Royal Academy of Arts until the 20th April 2016. www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/painting-modern-garden-monet-matisse
- Guardian review by Jonathan Jones
- Guardian review by Sarah Crompton
- Guardian review by Laura Cumming
- Independent review by Karen Wright
- Time Out London review by Martin Coomer