Jardins d’Étretat (France)
Download: Laudation by Roswitha Arnold
Inspired by Claude Monet, the renowned La Belle Époque actress Madame Thébault decided to create her dream garden in 1903, assisted by local landscape gardener Auguste Lecanu. The main terrace of Les Jardins d’Étretat sits on the famous cliff d’Amont. Claude Monet spent many hours here working on a series of paintings.
Alexandre Grivko re-conceptualised and restructured the gardens in 2015. The historical plant collection was restored, the garden enriched with new imagery and its boundaries expanded creating a harmonious coexistence of the historical garden with contemporary ideas.
The garden is a laboratory for plant nursing and sculptural plant trimming. The shapes of the plant compositions reflect the nature of Normandy, such as the waves of the English Channel, oyster farms and the rock formations and arches of the Alabaster coast.
Les Jardins d’Étretat is an open-air museum of contemporary art. The unusual combination of trimmed plants and modern sculptures lends the gardens their tone, as well as a striking sense of individuality. It provides a social, natural and artistic milieu stimulating creativity, improving ethical values and preserves the environment, historical and cultural heritage. Grivko believes that the landscape surrounding a person is an extension of this person’s inner self. Therefore, he keeps his work restrained and limited, to avoid excessive graphic linearity or colour palettes.