Saturday, 23 November 2013

Impressions of orchids

This week, French painter Gustave Caillebotte is featured on Wikipaintings, with a delightful Impressionist painting of orchids from 1893. 

Painted a year before his death, the subtle colouring and composition of Orchids is typical of his later style.

Born in 1848, upper-class Caillebotte was a French painter, member and patron of the Impressionists, although he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group. Caillebotte was noted for his early interest in photography as an art form, and later was famed for his approach to realism.

Caillebotte used his wealth to fund a variety of hobbies for which he was quite passionate, including orchid horticulture, stamp collecting, yacht building, and even textile design.

Coincidentally, Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Orchid Daze celebrates the work of three Impressionists who were inspired by the beauty of landscapes: Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin. The garden's annual exhibition reveals how the trio opened eyes to new ways of seeing and perceiving the world.

Van Gogh's ‘starry night’ is the theme in the Conservatory Lobby, according to a report. Metal spirals above visitors' heads support a construct of jewel-like miniature orchids. The colour scheme mimics Van Gogh's style, with oranges and yellows contrasting with blues and whites.

Monet features in the Orchid Atrium: at the centre will be a tranquil pool filled with planters of massed orchids suggesting clusters of water lilies. Lilac, pink and salmon Pansy Orchids (Miltonia) and Cattleya hybrids appear to float above the reflective surface in an abstracted homage to the artist's most famous paintings, including Giverny's iconic Japanese bridge.

The Orchid Display House celebrates Gauguin with striking blue Vandas, flaming orange/red/pink Masdevillas, and sunset yellow Nun's Orchids. 

The show runs February 8 - April 13 in the Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center.

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