Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts held its biennial extravaganza last weekend:

Fine Arts and Flowers.

Those of us who attempt floral arrangement of any kind will appreciate the immense achievement of the inspired designers participating in this event. They are asked to interpret works of art from the museum’s permanent collection. Interpret, not copy.

Because I could not take my time or elbow other attendees out of the way in order to get the perfect shots, we will have to make do with what I was able to capture. It’s annoying in the extreme that my blog photography needs do not trump the viewing pleasure of other museum patrons, but that seems to be the case, at least this year. Maybe two years from now…..

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Jasper Johns, “Between the Clock and the Bed”

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, “Sechs Tanzerinnen – Six Dancers”

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Marsdon Hartley, “Franconia Notch”

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Pierre-Jacques Volaire, The Eruption of Vesuvius

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Paolo de Matteis, “The Adoration of the Shepherds”

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Jules Olitski “Isis Ardor”

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Lamp, Boston and Sandwich Glass Company

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Asiatic Sarcophagus, Artist Unknown

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Franz Xavier Winterhalter, “Portrait of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Stael-Holstein”

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Willem De Kooning “Lisbeth’s Painting”

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Korean Door Panel, Artist Unknown

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Windows

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Franz Kline, Untitled

I would guess by the huge crowds that the museum’s goals for this exhibit were achieved as well. Terrific show.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour!

Barbara

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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86 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

  1. John says:

    These are great photos, silly! Nice work. 🙂

    Like

  2. Brilliant photos and how about the matching flower pieces. The Frank Llyod Wright windows is a direct copy of M-R’s latest graph. M-R should sue and make a quid! 😉
    De Kooning and matching flower piece. The winning one in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gerard, out of everything I’ve shown you, that is my absolute favorite. The designers captured all the elements of the painting beautifully. Sadly, I know what is missing and so wish I could have shown you….the Art Nouveau bed, the Buddha, the Japanese screen…..
      You are hilariously correct about the Frank Lloyd Wright windows although I submit they did come first.

      Like

  3. Love the flower arrangements, Barbara!

    janet

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  4. ChristineR says:

    What a visual feast you have had. Your photos convey the splendour wonderfully, and I cannot pick a favourite at all, though my first impression was you had saved the best until last. I loved all the abstract interpretations the best, they’re just gobsmacking when one studies them against the subject, and I loved the stained glass one, too – those blue glass marbles in the vase did it justice. The ballerina floral was excellent, especially the way the legs on the base of the pot mimics the extraordinary balancing dancers must perform. What a terrific concept, though, having the floral art interpretations. I bet the permanent museum pieces never had such scrutiny before. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Christine, you note the Frank Lloyd Wright design which was so perfect in real life with the glass marbles in the vase echoing the stained glass. And what captivated me about the ballerina floral is exactly what you note, the container. The containers the designers chose were often as integral a part of the arrangement as anything else. Also, in that pink ballerina design were tiny bits of pink tulle in the back which didn’t make it into the photo properly. Good eye, Christine!!! I think you would have loved touring the entire 78 designs in the exhibit.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cindy knoke says:

    Love flowers, love arranging, love the artistry here. Beautiful! ❤

    Like

  6. Pat S. says:

    All were amazing! Thank you for sharing. I do agree with Gerard. Of them all, the De Kooning
    was my favorite.

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    • The dark and crowded halls of the African and Asian exhibits held some real treasures too, Pat. You can picture us garden club ladies just standing in awe in front of these designs, can’t you? Some in my group were having fun trying to figure out the mechanics of the designs, I was just having fun taking pictures. Thanks, Pat.

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  7. bkpyett says:

    This exhibition is a treat! Thank you Barbara for letting us accompany you through. I’ve never seen an exhibition with the flower arrangements along side. They are amazing! Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline, are probably my favourites, but they are all impressive!

    Like

    • You’re the first to mention the Kline which was dramatic and impressive in the extreme. Imagine having to interpret such a stark black and white image and those designers pulled it off beautifully, didn’t they? I feel pleased as punch with myself when I can put a nice little bouquet from the garden together!

      Like

  8. nrhatch says:

    Wow! Some of those pairings are FAB. Love:

    * Marsdon Hartley, “Franconia Notch”
    * Jules Olitski “Isis Ardor”
    * Willem De Kooning “Lisbeth’s Painting”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Behind the Story says:

    Fantastic! It’s a real pleasure to look at these interpretations. Jules Olitski “Isis ardor” is one of my favorites. I also appreciate the flower arrangement inspired by the Korean door panel–so unexpected.

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    • Good morning, Nicki. There were many arrangements of furniture and artifacts that were situated in such a way I couldn’t shoot them, dash it to bits. The door panel is a superb example. I think the “Isis Ardor” is a splendid example too! Thanks so much.

      Like

  10. It is as beautiful as the Ikebana of Japan.
    Although the Western Ikebana I’ve heard no,
    It is very great.

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  11. M-R says:

    It’s bloody SENSATIONAL, Barbara ! Do you have a favourite from all of these ?
    I was scrolling through them when I grunted aloud, saying “Oh … that’s … totally brilliant !” – with regard to the Kooning and ‘Lisbeth’s Painting’ … But it’s simply the topmost standout from an entirely wonderful collection of art !

    Like

    • Well, the De Kooning is my favorite of what I posted. Sadly, there were other magnificent pieces that I could not properly shoot either because of lighting or crowds.. For instance a graceful Art Nouveau bed, the African masks, etc. In real life, the Adoration of the Shepherds is magnificent because the arrangement captured the glow around the baby Jesus beautifully. Thanks, M-R, so pleased you enjoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sandra says:

    Such a brilliant idea, and wonderful photos. You did extremely well to say there were other people around. I couldn’t nominate a favourite, they were all totally wonderful. Well OK, maybe I didn’t like the Lamp,Boston and Sandwich company has much as the others… but still lovely.

    Like

  13. These are phenomenal! As someone who can’t even put a bunch of carnations in a vase without it looking like a dog’s breakfast, I am in complete awe. And I think you did remarkably well on the photography, with or without sharp elbows.

    Like

  14. Excellent interpretations, Barbara. Inspiring.

    I also enjoy seeing what artists render when they use flowers to imitate a famous painting. The Bellagio casino in Vegas usually has one on display in their conservancy. 😉

    Like

    • Is that so? I usually go to Vegas once a year or so when we have a trade show out there and I’m happy to know this. I’ll put on my “to-see” list, for sure. Thanks, Judy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Bellagio has a year-round huge displays of scenes using flowers and materials from nature. It is changed thru out the year and it is stunning. We go to Vegas annually to visit my brother and always stop in the Bellagio for the Conservancy display and its Art Gallery. Small – sometimes only 30 paintings. But always excellent and it includes an audio tour. 😉

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      • Excellent information. You have no idea how much I needed to know that as Vegas is not exactly my favorite setting.

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      • If it weren’t for my folks (Mom and Dad are now gone), I would never go to Vegas. So we always seek out diversions on and off the strip – The Mob Museum, touring the Hoover Dam, having brunch with my brother in Mt. Charleston Lodge (about 50 miles outside of Vegas). All well worth a visit. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  15. menomama3 says:

    I have never heard of such an innovative approach to art appreciation. Love the crossover of two mediums. You could equally say the non-floral artists interpreted the flower arrangements. My favourite was the “6 dancers” – so whimsical.

    Like

  16. Maybe next time they will offer us bloggers a preview before the gala preview for picture taking. Sans flash, of course. You got some good shots that I could not get, Barbara, and then there were so many wonderful interpretations from which to choose.

    Like

  17. Sue Mayo says:

    I could not pick a favorite. Loved them all. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  18. dorannrule says:

    These are definitely spectacular selections and your photography is just fine! Thanks Barbara for sharing.

    Like

  19. Barbara, this is a phenomenal post! The flowers matching the artworks are just delightful – a surprising feast for my weary eyes this weekend! Beautiful is not strong enough an adjective. Stunning perhaps. Truly delicious. My favourites are the Ballerinas, the wonderful Franconia Notch combo and the Adoration of the Shepherds… the way the center is cradled by the design is just awe inspiring. Honestly. I blow no smoke and waste few words. But I must gush over this… and repost to my dear little friend Meredith, who is studying floral design… xx MH

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you so much, Dorreen. In real life, the arrangement for the “Adoration” was breathtaking especially the way the designer “cradled” the interior flowers. Truly, it glowed. We all stood quietly in front of it sort of taken aback by its beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is such an interesting concept, Barbara! I absolutely loved this… and would have loved to have seen it in person! Plus, I so want my sister Beth (an artist) to do me a knock off of Franconia Notch… I have just the place for it… hahaha! Thank you for this lovely post! Dorreen

        Like

      • Oh! I see you have reblogged this. Thanks so much, Dorreen. I hope Beth can do a good knock-off for you. You are so welcome and I’m so pleased you enjoyed this.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Reblogged this on Mother Hen Diaries and commented:
    Now, my friends, prepare yourselves for a real feast for the eyes! Stunning photos from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts “Fine Arts and Flowers” exhibition captured by my blog buddy Barbara, a talented writer, horticulturalist and West Highland Terrier expert… plus all around great gal. If you are not following Silver in the Barn, I would like to know why not! Mother Hen

    Like

  21. Oh! Those are so cool!

    Like

  22. Eliza Waters says:

    Fantastic show – you managed to get a lot of good shots, despite the crowds. What an inspired idea, the interpretations are wonderful. I seem to recall the Boston MFA does this as well.

    Like

    • Oh really? Gosh, I love Boston’s museums. This summer I got to see the Isabella Stewart Gardner but we didn’t have time to go into the MFA which was tantalizingly close. Next time!

      Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        I think they do it in the spring. I worked for a florist on Newbury St. and there was an invite to do an arrmt. for one of these shows. It is out of pocket and since they are large and must be maintained for the length of the show, it could be rather expensive. Only the big shops could do them. The details are fuzzy, it has been a long time since I lived there. 😉

        Like

      • Understandably difficult if it is out of pocket. The flowers for our event are donated, I understand, by the mega-florist in our city. The designs are accomplished by various Garden Clubs throughout the state. My understanding is that they have a few months to work out a design once give their assigned work of art. The show runs four days and somebody was telling me how difficult it is to water these intricate arrangements. I can imagine.

        Like

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Living art that you have to keep alive!

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  23. What a creative idea – to match a painting with a flower arrangement! and what a challenge. some of them convey the mood/energy of the painting more powerfully than others. “Franconia”, “Lisbeth’s Painting”, “shepherds’ watch” and “sarcophagus” are particularly effective, in my opinion.

    Like

    • You mention “Sarcophagus”, Annette, and you’re right. In real life the overlapping arms of the figures carved onto the base where perfectly mimicked by the flower stems. Many others were outstanding but couldn’t be photographed. Thanks and hope you have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Interesting concept. Most of them managed to capture the essense of the pieces some more successfully than others.

    Like

  25. reocochran says:

    What an exciting way to view the paintings that inspired the bouquets and arrangements. Your photographs were great, I like the angles, despite your wish to present them face forward, so to speak. I particularly like the bold colors of the “Franconia Notch” painting and vibrant floral arrangement. Marsden Hartley really captured its energy and my interest with this. I had to look back three times to study the wonderful images presented! Great post, Barb!

    Like

    • Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Robin. The “Franconia Notch” was a show stopper. I had to quick sneak in and take a pic before the next group moved up. People just were enthralled by it. I think you would have gotten so much out of this exhibit, Robin, with your sensitive eye.

      Like

      • reocochran says:

        I appreciate this compliment, Barb. I would have adored all of the arrangements, along with studying the paintings. I agree with so many of the commenters, I am not sure I had ever heard of this process of analyzing the paintings, then being inspired to make floral representations. After reading Dorreen’s comments I went back to study the Adoration of the Shepherds. I felt this was reverent and truly inspiring.

        Like

  26. Wow. I’m so glad you took the time to photograph, post, and write about this. It’s quite an intriguing combination of displays and I’ve really never seen flowers being used like this. I very much enjoyed!

    Like

  27. dorothy says:

    This was an awesome presentation by you and the artists involved. Having worked on a few flower shows (of course nothing comparable to this) it’s hard to comprehend the time and effort put into a challenge of this magnitude. Wonderful exhibit of such talent amongst us.

    Like

    • Good. I’m so glad you were able to revive your computer to see these designs, Dorothy. The experts in my crowd were all examining them careful …from a distance, of course….to figure out mechanics. So impressive!

      Like

  28. joannesisco says:

    Oh Barbara – these are magnificent! The degree of difficulty for some of these pieces made them even more striking … I’m thinking Lisbeth’s Painting and the piece of Franz Kline 🙂

    Like

    • I agree, Joanne, I would be stupefied with indecision were I to be asked to do something like this. Not that it would ever happen, I hasten to add. I’ve been thinking about you today and hoping you and Theo had some nice snuggle time.

      Like

  29. Jodi says:

    What an interesting concept and such lovely interpretations. Very inspiring!

    Like

  30. Absolutely superb pictures. Those flower arrangements so beautifully depict the paintings and the other pieces of art which they are meant to showcase. The one that I was particularly intrigued by was the ‘Asiatic Sarcophagus’.

    Shakti

    Like

  31. Beautiful post! And I think you did a great job of working your way around the other museum patrons.. those are some beautiful pictures. Love Jules Olitski! Good Morning!

    Like

  32. KerryCan says:

    What a creative idea for a show! The curators at the museum are sure doing their jobs well. I especially like the Hartley and de Kooning pairings–so effective! The show is also a great way to elevate flower arranging and encourage viewers to think of it as a legitimate art form.

    Like

  33. Linda says:

    Your photos are beautiful!!! 🙂

    Like

  34. Had to do a double take on the Lamp, Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, at a quick glace I thought it was a cake.

    Like

  35. Pingback: Finding Nemo in paper mache | Non perfect writing

  36. Wonderful photos, Barbara. You caught the correspondences between the works of floral art and works of fine art perfectly. What an exciting time you must have had attending! So glad you were able to go and enjoy the show! Hugs, WG

    Like

    • I think you would have loved it, WG. They’ll do another in 2016 and maybe you can come up to Richmond and see it. You would get a lot out of it, I just know.

      Like

      • Oh, I absolutely would love it, Barbara. Our W’burg garden club council did something similiar last winter, with works by our local artists. It was such an enjoyable afternoon! The arrangements at the VMFA are just top notch. What fun to enjoy them in person! Enjoy the day, Barbara. I will try to get an email to you this afternoon. Hugs, WG

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