Bouquets To Art And Impressionist Paintings At San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums

 

 

Pierre Bonnard’s  "Paris on Bastille Day" 1890, one of many stunning examples of small impressionist paintings. Photography and text by Heide Van Doren Betz

Pierre Bonnard’s “Paris on Bastille Day” 1890, one of many stunning examples of small impressionist paintings.

 

“God Loved the Flowers and Invented Soil; Man Loved the Flowers and Invented Vases.”  Author Unknown

 

Annually, museums across the United States invite well known, creative floral designers, gardeners and garden clubs to create floral arrangements that interpret or mimic certain paintings and sculpture in the museum’s collection.  These exhibitions include lectures and hands-on floral design instruction.  Usually lasting four or five days (flowers are refreshed daily) they are the best attended in the museum communities and raise considerable donations for museum programs, such as art acquisitions and special exhibitions.

 

Floral Design Inspired by a Tiffany Lamp ..these incredible patterns would decorate any tree any time.Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

Floral Design Inspired by a Tiffany Lamp ..these incredible patterns would decorate any tree any time.

This year, San Francisco’s 30th “ Bouquets To Art”, was held at the landmark de Young Museum, the original building stemming from an international exposition in 1894.  The present building, a contemporary copper and glass design by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005.  It houses significant masterpieces of American and African art, as well as costume and textile arts.  In creating floral pieces for this year, the 125 invited floral designers were asked to complement a specific work of art by considering not only the image but the lines, color and shapes.  There was no wrong way of interpretation – a gut reaction with a splash of floral color to express the feeling of the artwork often resulted in a stunning creation.  The final outcomes ranged from miniature to gigantic.

 

Lovey's Garden by Debbie Hitchcock; Art: Franklin Simmons’s "Penelope".Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

Lovey’s Garden by Debbie Hitchcock; Art: Franklin Simmons’s “Penelope”.

Across town, on a hill overlooking the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor, a replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, was built for the International Exposition of 1915.  The museum’s collections include European paintings, sculpture (Rodin’s “Thinker” rests in the courtyard), ancient and decorative art, and an extensive collection of works on paper.

 

Shiny, silver holiday baubles reflect the crowd and complement the colorful stripes in the painting.Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

Shiny, silver holiday baubles reflect the crowd and complement the colorful stripes in the painting.

“Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art” is an outstanding exhibition of masterpiece paintings by giants of the Impressionist period, such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, Monet, Bonnard and others.  These small treasures usually hang in a special suite in the National Gallery’s East Building.  These spaces are currently undergoing renovation so the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco is exhibiting these treasures.

 

IM Designs stunningly set off Robert Motherwell's "At Five in the Afternoon".  Yes, less is more! Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

IM Designs stunningly set off Robert Motherwell’s “At Five in the Afternoon”. Yes, less is more!

These small-scale (therefore intimate) works were painted for the patron or friend’s salon or the home.  They often deal with subjects of everyday life, such as a woman with her cat, or a woman in the kitchen, or just a vase of flowers.  They emphasize the close relationship and friendship the artist often had with his subject.

 

White anthuriums on mahogany steps (clever substitute for your next tree) echo the photorealist depiction of Alexander Pope's "The Wild Swan".Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

White anthuriums on mahogany steps (clever substitute for your next tree) echo the photorealist depiction of Alexander Pope’s “The Wild Swan”.

To link these two exhibitions consider these quotations: “I owe having become a painter to flowers.”  Claude Monet.  “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”  Henri Matisse.

 

 

The colors of Christmas or autumn are reflected in this creative tribute.Photography by Heide Van Doren Betz

The colors of Christmas or autumn are reflected in this creative tribute.

 

 





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