Like bees on a quest for nectar, artists have always been drawn to the garden, where the perfect chaos of nature’s handiwork offers enormous challenges. How can the delicate beauty of a rose blossom possibly be captured with just a few dabs of alizarin crimson or cadmium yellow? How can mere pigment on canvas convey the ebullient skyward stretch of a sunflower, the tenacious meanderings of a climbing vine, or the shimmering of a willow leaf in an autumn breeze? And the light, be it dazzling or dappled—how can an artist ever hope to re-create its ever-changing interplay on the lines, forms, and colors so recklessly abundant in the garden?
Claude Monet, for one, made a life’s work of this Sisyphean pursuit, creating his own magnificent gardens to serve as both subject and creative muse. “Apart from painting and gardening, I’m no good at anything,” he said.
The efforts of Monet and more than two dozen other artists are highlighted in the thirty magnificent garden-related images reproduced in this book of postcards. All of the works are from the vast and diverse collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, a beacon of culture since its founding in 1885.
Includes work by Camille Pissarro, Henri Rousseau, Odilon Redon, George Wesley Bellows, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Martin Johnson Heade, Willard Leroy Metcalf, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Helen M. Turner, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edward Coley Burne-Jones and others.