Painting the Modern Garden: Monet To Matisse, 26 February 2016

While we were away, Janie got very excited about the prospect of seeing this show about gardens. Janie is a friend of the Royal Academy now, so we can go when we like.  We both thought that the Friday afternoon of our return might be a good bet. Perhaps 16:00ish – between the earlier in the day Friday-offers and the after work Friday evening-istas.

But of course it didn’t work out that way. “I’ll be over around 15:00” became “15:30” and then at 15:30 came the call, “I’ll probably be another hour or so”. It enabled me to get other stuff done. In the end, Janie turned up at the flat around 18:00 so we decided to load up the car and drive in to Mayfair – so we got to the Academy at the prime time for the late crowd, especially as the free guided tour was kicking off.

At the start I saw several stylish works that all resembled the backs of peoples’ heads rather than gardens, but then Janie came up with a cunning plan to whiz through to the end of the show and work backwards-ish, avoiding the heave. This cunning plan pretty much worked, apart from the last room with three of Monet’s giant water lilies.  I thought we’d seen them before in the major Monet exhibition some years ago, but Janie insists these particular three are ones that hadn’t been exhibited before. You need to be an expert/completist to tell one triptych of Monet water lilies from another IMHO.

Reviews in major papers such as the Guardian and Telegraph tell you all you need to know about what you are and aren’t getting in this exhibition. Yes, you are getting lots of Monet. No, you don’t get much Matisse, nor much Klee, Van Gogh etc.  Only one Kandinsky but it is a cracker. Ditto Klimt.

Worth seeing, this exhibition, especially if you like gardens and you like Monet. It is beyond chocolate box but it is mostly easy-going eye candy.


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