Floral Arrangements illustrates the ways we express our love of flowers with selections from the Museum’s 19th- and 20th-century collections. From botanical watercolors by Joanna Kellinger in Victorian Yonkers to a “Mimosa” rug by Henri Matisse on view for the first time since 1983, these floral objects will compliment the exhibition Robert Zakanitch: Garden of Ornament.
The exhibition includes paintings, photographs, textiles, and ceramics and begins with a wall of botanical studies, where Kellinger’s English Bluebells and Spider Lilies hang next to a 1934 drawing, Banana Blossom, by
Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.
Evelyn Nesbit with Rose, 1901 Sepia print photo
9 3/8 x 7 1/2 in.
Gift of Mrs. Erik Kaeyer, 75.29.49
Georgia O’Keeffe. Other sections include portraiture, the decoration of clothing and home furnishings, and photographic studies ranging from formal compositions to allegorical still life arrangements.
Portrait paintings and photographs by John White Alexander,
Rudolf Eickemeyer and Edward Steichen reveal the theme of representing flowers as decorative and symbolic elements. A painting by George Stengel, a founder of the Yonkers Art Association and the Hudson River Museum, shows women seated around a vase of flowers, and he also created vivid floral imagery for carpet designs. A series of densely packed and highly colorful photographs by pioneering photorealist Audrey Flack, on which she based her paintings, illustrate how contemporary artists look to the past for floral inspiration.
Many objects in this exhibition have not been on display for decades, or are recent acquisitions on view for the first time. For the first time in over 30 years, a 1920s evening coat is on view. Patterned with gold chrysanthemums, it was made by Dunstan, a New York City fashion house.
Newly acquired objects include a group of intricately beaded purses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries—all with floral embellishment, as well as vases festooned with molded flowers by Odell & Booth, a Tarrytown ceramics firm operating from the 1870s to 1890s, and the Museum’s newest acquisition, a classic Currier & Ives print, Landscape: Fruit and Flowers by Fanny Palmer, one of the firm’s most important artists.
The period rooms of Glenview, the Museum’s Gilded Age home on the National Register of Historic Places is also open to view. There more floral collections can be seen, from decorative arts to the stylized flowers of the woodwork, the friezes, and tiles.