Immersive Monet exhibit opens in New York

A massive, immersive exhibition celebrating French artist Claude Monet makes its U.S. debut in downtown New York, promising a multisensory experience that puts visitors as close to inside his iconic flower paintings as possible.

“Monet’s Garden: The Immersive Experience” splashes the Impressionist pioneer’s paintings across walls and floors of a spacious, one-time bank building and boost the effect by adding scents, music and narration in multiple language.

“Whether you are a Monet expert and you come here, you will find new ways to experience Money’s art. But even if you just heard the name Monet and don’t really know anything about him, you can come here. You will learn about the art. You will be able to experience it and just maybe fall in love with his work,” said Dr. Nepomuk Schessl, producer of the exhibition.

Visitors are greeted by aromas of lavender and water lilies wafting in the air and learn much about Monet, who during his long life evolved from a gifted but slightly conventional landscape painter churning out realistic images to a painter whose feathery brushstrokes captured shifting light, atmosphere and movement.

The exhibit offers many of Monet’s works, which vary from the rocky coastline of Normandy to haystacks and poplars, to the Japanese bridge and water lily-filled pond at his home in Giverny.

The exhibit began Nov. 1 at the Seamen’s Bank Building at 30 Wall Street and runs until Jan. 8. Tickets are on sale now, and Schessl hopes it will tour the U.S. in 2023.

The concept for “Monet’s Garden” was developed by the Swiss creative lab Immersive Art AG in cooperation with Alegria Konzert GmbH. It has been shown in European cities such as Berlin, Zurich and Vienna and will have upcoming engagements in Hamburg and London.

In some ways, Schessl thinks a massive, 360-degree presentation of Monet’s works fits with the artist’s own intentions. After all, some of his paintings were intentionally massive.

“Monet as an artist, he really is perfect for this kind of exhibition because he himself already painted his waterlily decorations in such a large format because he had the idea that the spectator should immerse themselves into his pictures,” said Schessl of Monet, who lived from 1840-1926.

“Monet’s Garden” comes a year after dueling traveling immersive exhibits of Van Gogh arrived in New York and also married his work with technology. Gustav Klimt’s paintings have also been made immersive.

Schessl said technology — especially stronger processing power and high-tech LCD laser projectors — make these immersive exhibits possible. He admits to checking out rival shows to ensure his team stays cutting edge.