by Beatrix Saule
Chief Curator

An "illustrious unknown figure": these are the words used to describe André Le Nôtre at the symposium held at Versailles in 2000 on the three hundredth anniversary of his death; with the exhibition dedicated to the gardener to Louis XIV, this will no longer be possible. Unveiling the results of fifteen years of research conducted by Patricia Bouchenot-Déchin in the archives and over twenty years of field work by Georges Farhat, the exhibition provides answers to many questions which existed on the personality, the genius and the heritage of the most famous of gardeners.

The title "Le Nôtre in Perspectives" alludes to all the viewpoints covered. These include geometric perspectives, the main lines which give the gardens their magnitude, as well as the offshoots which give strollers a treasure trove of visual pleasures. They also include temporal perspectives, revealed by an astonishing personal history: three generations of King's officers, a career which started earlier than previously thought, an important social position, intellectual stature confirmed by the diversity of his skills as well as the quality of his art collections... Lastly, the multifaceted legacy of Le Nôtre has survived to the present day without being superseded. Some of the world's greatest architects and urban designers keep drawing inspiration from Le Nôtre and his way of handling space…