When contemporary art meets nature, a look at Les Jardins d’Étretat an open-air museum
In 1905 the famous french actress Madame Thébault planted the first tree in her garden that would surround her home on the Amont cliff in Etretat, Normandy. While being friends with famous impressionist painter Claude Monet, Madame Thébault was inspired to grow this garden to reflect Monet’s works in the real world. While the Garden later would inspire Monet and other impressionist artists alike in future paintings.
In 2017 the garden would inspire another artist, a landscape architect, by the name of Alexandre Grivko. Grivko wanted to rebuild the garden in a way that would pay homage to its history while blending contemporary art and nature to create an environment unlike any other, an environment that would inspire future artists. The garden is composed of over one hundred thousand pants all arrange to resemble the area of Normandy. You will find plants made to look like oyster farms, spirals, and marine whirlpools, and much more.
One of the most important aspects of the garden is its permanent installation of sculptures. These installations are what ties everything together in the garden and give the visitors an otherworldly experience. The most recognizable sculptures we see in the garden are created by Samuel Salcedo and are titled “Rain Drops.” These works are huge round human faces made of Polyester resin and aluminum powder, each one depicting a different human emotion. Each head is placed in the middle of a spiral of pants that are designed to resemble the underwater world and the living environment of oysters.
Then there is the final sculpture that reminds us of why this garden was created in the first place. This sculpture is titled Claude Monet and is just what it says, its a sculpture meant to depict the famous artist while he painted the Amont cliff in 1883 during sunset and possibly many of his others works inspired by the area. The Les Jardins d’Étretat is truly a sight to behold and one of the best examples of how art can reflect real life in a more surreal manner.