Yet another onslaught of winter weather caused the long-anticipated Art in Bloom show at the St. Louis Art Museum to end one day early this year.
A Beautiful Collaboration of Art and Floral Designs
Originally scheduled for three days (February 28-March 2, 2014), the annual event has been on hiatus since 2009 because of the construction of the new East Wing. It is a wonderful collaboration of floral artists with paintings and sculpture in the museum. Their creative floral interpretations represent colors, themes and images from the art.
I’m glad I got there Saturday, before the storm that forced the museum to close on Sunday.
The flowers make an easy path through the Museum (SLAM, as it is popularly known), which houses a large collection. They are beautiful in themselves, and so welcome at this time of year. But they are also interesting for the ways in which they reflect the museum’s pieces. Comparing the flower arrangements with their paintings (or stained glass, sculpture, or another object) encourages a closer look at the art, to see the connections.
Stained Glass in Flowers
One of my favorites was a French stained glass piece, “Seated Malaleel, Son of Cain.” The picture in the glass was replicated by Tim Moore (Wildflowers) with colored stems and flowers in various colors in what looked like Japanese Ikebana style: tall red stalks at the sides, a line of flowers at the base, and a curving branch of small white flowers across the front.
Degas’s “The Milliners”
Another favorite was “The Milliners,” by Edgar Degas. Carol Eilermann (Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri) reflected the painting’s composition and colors, placing a wreath of tiny yellow flowers in the middle of her arrangement, representing the hat the two milliners held between them.
Ancient Camel, Fresh Flowers
In “Bactrian Camel,” an ancient Chinese camel figure was paired by Judy Sheets (Federated Garden Clubs of MO) with a camel whose neck and head were made of a curving palm frond, and whose body was studded with yellow and green flowers.
“Smiling Girl, a Courtesan, Holding an Obscene Image,” painted by Gerrit van Honthorst, was replicated in flowers by Dean Riebeling and Keith McDonnell (Botanicals Design Studio). A glass goblet in the center of this floral creation held the “obscene image,” in this case a rose.
The free festival includes lectures and demonstrations that require tickets. Highlights this year included lectures on Friday and Saturday by Judith Farr, who designs the sets for Downton Abbey. Her lecture was $35, $25 for SLAM members. Floral demonstrations were $10, $5 for members.
Throughout the museum, docents were available to answer questions and share details about the displays. Attendees were asked to fill out a ballot and vote for their choices in three categories: Best in Show, Best Creative Design, and Best Traditional Design.
Today, when I am once again stuck inside, looking out at a cold white world, I’m glad to have all of those glorious Art in Bloom images in my mind.