The Artist's Garden

Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred stunning American impressionist paintings along with gardening manuals and ephemera, The Artist's Garden tells the intertwining stories of American Art and the Progressive Era garden movement, exploring the ways horticultural and artistic practices shaped American identity.

The Artist's Garden
American Impressionism and the Garden Movement

Edited by Anna O. Marley

2014 | 264 pages | Cloth $49.95
Fine Art
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Table of Contents

Note from the Director
—Harry Philbrick, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

—John Dixon Hunt
—Anna O. Marley
Chapter 1. Producing Pictures Without Brushes: American Artists and Their Gardens
—Anna O. Marley
Chapter 2. "A Desperately Aesthetic Business": Garden Art in America, 1870-1920
—Virginia Grace Tuttle
Chapter 3. Home of the Hummingbird: Thaxter, Hassam, and the Aesthetics of Nature Conservation
—Alan C. Braddock
Chapter 4. "A Tendency to Outstrip Native Blossoms in Life's Race": Nativism in Impressionist Gardens
—Erin Leary
Chapter 5. The Garden Painted, Planted, and Printed: Chromolithography and Impressionism in America
—Katie A. Pfohl
Chapter 6. American Impressionists and the Problem of Urban Parks: Conflicting Temporalities
—James Glisson
Chapter 7. Designing Paradise: Women Landscape Architects and the American Country House Garden
—Judith B. Tankard

Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors
Lenders to the Exhibition

Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]

A Note from the Director

Claude Monet's garden in Giverny holds a mythic place in the consciousness of art lovers; it is the vividly imagined Eden from which came the most cinematic paintings of that most popular of art movements, impressionism. While the influence of the paintings that sprang from those gardens is clearly acknowledged, what about the garden itself? Impressionist paintings resonate so strongly because they are the veiled and gauzy icons of the creation of the middle class in both Europe and the United States. The middle-class idyll was brought to life by the layout and construction of railways, trams, and parkways connecting the hustle and bustle of the city, and its economic engines, with a newly defined, synthetic creation—the suburb. The suburb was packaged in images heavily dependent upon gardening. Just as the increased urbanization of America led to the birth of our national parks, and the creation of vast tracts of desirable wilderness being preserved by families such as the Rockefellers, so, on a more modest and domesticated scale, did the new suburbanites take delight and find solace in gardening.

The exhibition to which this book is a companion brings to life, with beauty, insight, and a sharp scholarly focus, the intertwining stories of American artists, impressionism, and the growing popularity of gardening as a middle-class pursuit in the period from 1887 until shortly after the end of the first world war.

Dr. Anna Marley has done an exemplary job of situating breathtakingly beautiful paintings in a framework that explicates the turn-of-the-century interest in nature and gardening, as well as the fascinating narrative of the role of female artists in a time when the domestic arts—and gardening in particular—were beginning to reflect the changing role of women in American society. On behalf of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) I thank her for taking the seed of an idea and growing it into a rich and complex project. Her vision of including garden texts, ornamental sculpture, and living plants has truly brought the project to life. She has engaged and supported a distinguished roster of contributing authors, creating a richly dynamic book that will grace art libraries and spark scholarly discourse.

My thanks also to Dr. David Brigham, President and CEO of PAFA, whose participation in many conversations was critical to the initial development of the ideas underlying this project.

We are delighted that the exhibition to which this book is a companion will travel to Chrysler Museum of Art, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Our sincere thanks to our able colleagues: at the Chrysler, Director William Hennessey and Deputy Director Susan Leidy; at Reynolda House, Executive Director Allison Perkins and Elizabeth Chew, Betsy Main Babcock Director of the Curatorial and Education Division; at The Huntington, President Steve Koblik and Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections.

Harry Philbrick
Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts