Saturday, May 21, 2016

American Gardens on Canvas

Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas is currently on view at the New York Botanical Garden. The landscape of the classic American garden of the late 19th - early 20th century is recreated in the Haupt Conservatory, paired with a selection paintings by American Impressionist painters on display in the garden's library gallery.
Childe Hassam, 1893
 oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 26 1/4"
 Terra Foundation for American Art
Old House and Garden, East Hampton Long Island
Frederick Childe Hassam, 1898
oil on canvas 
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
America Impressionists often gathered to paint outdoors in what were known as art colonies. City dwellers spent summers in rural communities such as Florence Griwold's boarding house in Old Lyme, Connecticut; William Merritt Chase's art school in Shinnecock, Long Island; and Celia Thaxter's salon on Appledore Island in Maine, seven miles of the coast of New Hampshire. Painters, writers and musicians convened for tea, music and conversation in cozy parlors or on wide wooden verandas.
I have visited the restoration of Thomas Moran's studio in East Hampton and fallen in love with the photo of Theodore Wore's painting of it here on the renovation trust's site. Nothing compared to seeing the work in person. The texture! The flowers are rendered in heavy impasto and the paint over the door frame is a thick slash of still juicy white. It was worth going to the Bronx just to see this one painting. The other works in the show are equally stunning and it was a pretty walk past peony beds and ancient trees from the conservatory to the library.
Thomas Moran's House by Theodore Wores
oil on board 9" x 12"
Heckscher Museum Collection
White Phlox, 1906 by Hugh Henry Breckinridge
oil on canvas 30" x 25"
Terra Foundation for American Art
It was incredible seeing the thick display of blooming flowers close to the veranda. I sat in one of the porch rocking chairs and looked out through the multicolored blooms to the crowd enjoying the scene. Isn't it interesting how foundation plantings now are mostly evergreen shrubs but in the era depicted here, a home's foundation was surrounded by a glorious burst of spring and summer color.
Peonies, ca 1907 by Matilda Browne
oil on wood 11" x 14"
Florence Griswold Museum Collection
Shinnecock, Long Island 
William Merrit Chase, ca. 1896
Oil on wood panel 14 5/16 x 16 1/8"
Gift of Francis A. Comstock, Class of 1919
Princeton University Collection image via
I am inspired to plant my garden with flowers and get outdoors with a sketch book.

1 comment:

  1. The paintings are well as the flowers Gail..
    Peonies..and Thomas Moran's House..♥All of them really..happy planting and painting.


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