Video: Kandinsky and the avant-gardeners

Published 17 March 2016

For Matisse, Kandinsky and Munch, the garden provided inspiration as they worked towards new styles of painting.

  • It wasn’t just Monet and the Post-Impressionists who were influenced by their gardens. During the early years of the 20th century, artists from Wassily Kandinsky to Edvard Munch turned to the garden for subject matter as they experimented with new styles and symbols.

    In the videos below, Royal Academy curator Ann Dumas introduces the work of the avant-gardeners, as shown in our exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse.

  • Kandinsky's garden at Murnau

    From 1910 until 1911, Kandinsky lived in Murnau in Bavaria with the German painter Gabriele Münter, and the garden they made there briefly inspired his work. He captured the forms and colours of the flowers in the garden in a manner poised on the edge of abstraction.

  • Munch's symbolic apple tree

    For the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, the garden represented a symbolic site, and painting it a means of expressing his psychological state of mind. Curator Ann Dumas introduces Munch’s Apple Tree in the Garden.

  • Matisse, Dufy and Nolde

    “The colour of flowers drew me magnetically to them, and suddenly I started painting,” wrote Emil Nolde of his garden. As curator Ann Dumas explains, in the work of Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Nolde, a new style of painting was emerging. Through intensifying colours and forms, the garden was being used as a means of expressing their strong inner feelings.

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