The Artist’s Garden: Impressionists and the Garden Movement

Take a second or two to load these beautiful paintings from “The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887-1920,” now at the Huntington. With the rise of the middle class and railroads, more people could commute to their job in a city and come home to a suburb.

Book published in 1901
Book published in 1901

Artists and other people enjoyed gardening in their own yards or in their artists’ colonies. Both painting and gardening involve color, form, and composition.

"The Crimson Rambler," ca. 1908, by Philip Leslie Hale
“The Crimson Rambler,” ca. 1908, by Philip Leslie Hale

“The Crimson Rambler” may look wonderfully old-fashioned to us, but its 1908 audience recognized this hybridized rose as a lovely product of technology. I like the lavender light on her white skirt, above,

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the pink in the multicolor grass,

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and the veil that is in sun and shadow.

Laundry drying on the clothesline, along with grass and shadows, is beautiful.
Laundry drying on the clothesline, along with grass and shadows, is beautiful.

 

"A Breezy Day," 1887. Charles Courtney Curran.
“A Breezy Day,” 1887. Charles Courtney Curran.

I think these women are spreading out laundered sheets to dry. This is a jewel of a painting, small (not quite 12 x 20 inches), and vivid, clear, and crisp as a windy day.

This exhibit, from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is at the Huntington through Monday, May 9, and then continues its tour in the East. If you don’t live close to Los Angeles, that’s okay. I’ll keep posting about the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Can you see the banner of the painting "The Crimson Rambler?"
Can you see the banner of the painting “The Crimson Rambler?”

I’ll leave you with two artists’ own homes.

"My House in Winter" by Charles Morris Young
“My House in Winter” by Charles Morris Young

The labels with “The Artist’s Garden” exhibit state that the garden in winter was often discussed in books and magazines. The winter garden was considered a relaxing retreat, and winter a time of renewal.

The artist's home. "Snow" by John Henry Twachtman.
The artist’s home. “Snow” by John Henry Twachtman.

At the Huntington, I had read “renewal” to mean the sleeping gardens. I think of renewal in springtime grass and flowers. Maybe the writer meant personal renewal. Gardens, and impressionist art, renew and refresh me.

Happy Spring! Enjoy nature. I’ll post again on the first Monday in June.

Phenakistoscope: Moving Pictures

The phenakistoscope is an early animation device.

 

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Disc by Eadweard Muybridge (1893).

 

There were variations on the device, but the principle is of a spinning wheel with slots between the images, as you see above.   Note the hole in the middle where a handle attaches.

 

 

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Say you face a mirror and hold the disc in front of you. Spin the disc and look through the slots. You catch each image as it whizzes by, and the persistence of vision creates the moving picture.

 

Stereoscopes

Please DO Touch.  Museums encourage visitors to handle and look through antique stereoscopes, to see photos rendered in 3-D.

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Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

In the age before radio and television, the stereoscope was very popular.  Families had one in the parlor, along with many black-and-white photos, two identical photos on a single card.   They bought the cards with the double images on them.

Oakland Museum
Oakland Museum

If you see one in a museum, pick it up and pull the photos toward or away from you until the image pops — they may be black and white photos, but the 3-D effect is vivid.  Many of the photos are landscapes with depth, like the photos here.  The one directly above shows a river in a canyon.

Most folks could not travel far, but a collection of these images from many places would be fun, and your friends would have a different collection in their home.