In conjunction with the exhibition The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920, Gardens on Paper demonstrated how American artists’ fascination with horticultural matters spilled over from the canvas into works on paper. In these media, more than anywhere else, popular and artistic interests in garden subjects intersected. While prints and drawings circulated in fine art settings, works on paper were also disseminated through reproduction in mass circulation magazines and gardening books. In these publications, artists were able to bridge the divide between fine art and mass-media, reaching broader audiences through new reproductive technologies, such as modern chromolithography and early color photography. Garden books and magazines also invited collaborations between famous writers and artists.
Significantly, America’s burgeoning gardening craze was primarily promoted by women cultural creators—artists, writers, and gardeners—who found in it an opportunity to enter the public sphere as professionals and advocates for a wide range of social issues. On and off the page, the art of gardening gave many middle-class Americans both an appreciation for natural beauty and an awareness of dynamic Progressive era social values.
One exciting feature of this exhibition was a rediscovered set of Autochromes—the earliest method of color photography—by artist Thomas Shields Clarke of his Fernbrook gardens in Lenox, Massachusetts. Because these glass plates cannot be exposed to light long-term, PAFA is thrilled to bring them to you HERE. The exhibition also featured reproductions with back-lighting allowing visitors the chance to see how these glass plate Autochromes would have appeared when viewed through their standard viewing device—the diascope.
The Artist's Garden tells the intertwined stories of American art and the new American garden movement in the years on either side of the turn of the twentieth century. Anna O. Marley and her contributors showcase more than one hundred beautifully reproduced artworks by Cecilia Beaux, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, and others alongside the books, journals, and ephemeral artifacts that both shaped and were products of the garden movement. The volume's lavishly illustrated text considers topics that range from environmentalism to new printing technologies, from the genres of garden writing to the distinctions between public and domestic spaces or American and French impressionism. The contributors are Alan C. Braddock, James Glisson, John Dixon Hunt, Erin Leary, Anna O. Marley, Katie A. Pfohl, Judith B. Tankard, Virginia Grace Tuttle.
Leading support from the Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc and the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.
The Major Exhibition Sponsors are Bill and Laura Buck, and Christie’s.
Contributing support from Edward and Wendy Harvey and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
Participating support from Mr. and Mrs. Washburn S. Oberwager, Pennsylvania Trust, Martin Stogniew, in memory of Judy Stogniew, a lover of art and gardening, and Kenneth R. Woodcock.
Additional support from Bowman Properties, Ltd., The Burpee Foundation, Alan P. Slack, and The Victory Foundation.
PAFA's special exhibitions in 2014-15 are supported by generous contributions from Linda Seyda and Bob Boris and Jonathan Cohen.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ public programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).
General operating support provided, in part, by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund