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Video: a visit to two artist gardens in Germany

Published 8 February 2016

While Monet was painting his famous waterlily pond at Giverny, artists across Europe were also finding symbiosis between art and their gardens. The curator of Painting the Modern Garden takes you on a trip to Germany.

  • Monet is the most famous example of an influential gardener-artist – and indeed, a focus of our exhibition, Painting the Modern Garden. But, as the show makes clear, Modernism wasn’t just happening in France. It was blooming across Europe, and in Germany two painters in particular were embracing the idea of designing outdoor spaces, and taking inspiration from it. Our curator, Ann Dumas, heads inside the beautiful gardens of the Impressionist, Max Liebermann, and the German Expressionist, Emil Nolde.

  • A visit to Max Liebermann's garden in Wannsee

    A successful Impressionist artist, Max Liebermann moved here in 1910, building a grand garden and villa at the edge of a beautiful lake outside Berlin. Neatly dividing the land into a series of “rooms” and alleys, he reflects a formal trend in German garden design at the time – and then rejects any precision at all in his painting, depicting it with a wild flurry of brush strokes and colour.

  • A visit to Emil Nolde's garden in Seebüll

    Having exhibited with Kandinsky and other members of the German Expressionist groups, Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke, Emil Nolde moved north with his wife in 1927, building a house and garden in the countryside near the Danish border. Devoting most of his time to the garden and his work, he planted his favourite flowers – in a wilder, more homely style than Liebermann’s – and then painted them in close-up views, focusing on their bright, saturated colours. We can still see the marks where he tested his colours on his outside cabin, next to the flower beds.


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