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Jun 16, 2015. - Sep 6, 2015.

The Artist's Garden

American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920

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The opening gallery in the exhibition features American artists in European gardens. Some of the top painters of the day were planting gardens as an easy way to experiment with light and color. The garden shown above was planted by Claude Monet. Photo detail credit: John Leslie Breck, Garden at Giverny (In Monet's Garden), oil on canvas, ca. 1887-91. Terra Foundation for American Art, © Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago. Click the detail to see the full image enlarged.

Garden Clubs Bring Works to Full Flower

Opening week brought a special treat, as local garden clubs created beautiful arrangements based on paintings in the show. They included:

The Redwood Junior Garden Club of Norfolk was inspired by Frederick Childe Hassam's The Goldfish Window.

The Elizabeth River Garden Club of Portsmouth sparked their imagination with Frederick Childe Hassam's In The Garden.

The Garden Club of Norfolk started their creative efforts from Charles Courtney Curran's A Spray of Goldenrod.

The Virginia Beach Garden Club found their motivation with Jane Peterson's Turkish Fountain with Garden.

The Nansemond River Garden Club of Suffolk found their inspiration with Frederick Carl Frieseke's Lady in a Garden.

The Princess Anne Garden Club of Virginia Beach started their creative approach with William Merritt Chase's An Italian Garden.

And finally, the Chrysler Museum of Art Flower Guild brought to life Philip Leslie Hale's The Crimson Rambler.

This exhibition of American Impressionist masterworks showcases more than 70 works by renowned painters like Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, Theodore Robinson, Gari Melchers, and Cecilia Beaux.

Follow these painters on a colorful journey from their backyards to the great gardens of the world. Expect warm sunlight, rustling branches, and the exquisite colors of flower petals captured in brilliant strokes. There's even a group of paintings that focus on the beauty of a garden in winter.

Many artists in this period were avid gardeners who adapted their own yards to become subjects for their work. Their models included the great palace gardens of Europe, such as the Villa Corsi-Salviati near Florence, where William Merritt Chase painted An Italian Garden in 1909, a spectacular sun-drenched study of formal walls and terraces (and a Chrysler Collection favorite).

Others preferred the more intimate flower-filled yards of Claude Monet, as seen in John Leslie Breck's Garden at Giverny (In Monet's Garden), painted between 1887 and 1891, a scene of tall flowers crowding around a slender dirt path. The exhibition explores these choices: how artists organized their gardens, what they planted, and why certain flowers were favorites.

"French Impressionism was a starting point, but these artists developed unique American voices and styles," said Alex Mann, the Chrysler's Brock Curator of American Art. "They formed artist colonies in historic towns like Cornish, New Hampshire, and Old Lyme, Connecticut, and they had special admiration for native species like phlox and goldenrod."

The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920 runs through Sept. 6. Admission is free, and for more details, you can read our press release here.

To get your selfie on display as part of this exhibition, using the hashtag #NorfolkBlooms, visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden for The Great Frame-Up project.

The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920 was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pa., and was curated by PAFA’s Curator of Historical American Art, Anna O. Marley, Ph.D. The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., and the Richard C. von Hess Foundation provided leading support for the project, with additional major funding from Bill and Laura Buck, and Christie’s. The exhibition catalogue was awarded a David R. Coffin Publication Grant from the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

Childe Hassam
The Goldfish Window
Oil on canvas
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH

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