Looking Back: An International Retrospective, Part 1
14 September – 14 December 2023
To celebrate the upcoming 60th anniversary of our International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration series, we are having a two-part retrospective exhibition in fall 2023 and spring 2024 featuring some of the 1,212 artists who have been included in the series since 1964. The fall 2023 exhibition, Looking Back: An International Retrospective, Part 1, includes works by 46 artists from the first eight Internationals. The celebration culminates with the opening of our 17th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration in fall 2024.
When the Hunt Botanical Library (today the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation) opened in 1961, it was comprised of books, letters, manuscripts, original artworks and portraits from the collection of Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt (1882–1963). She had exquisite and discriminating tastes, and her knowledge of botanical and horticultural history and literature was extensive and astute. For the art collection to grow as she hoped, it was clear that a broader focus on contemporary artists and illustrators would be necessary. As George H. M. Lawrence (1910–1978; Hunt Institute founding director, 1960–1970) wrote in the catalogue for the Contemporary Botanical Art and Illustration (1st International) exhibition in 1964, "this library, already a repository for botanical art of earlier centuries, recognizes that among the original work produced today there is much that will be sought and prized by collectors tomorrow." With the goal of collecting and preserving the best examples of contemporary botanical art and illustration, the International series was established in 1964 and has, to date, represented 1,212 artists from all over the world. This series has allowed us to add some of the most compelling botanical artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries to our collection, which has grown from Rachel Hunt's 1,300 watercolors, drawings and prints in 1961 to over 32,000 works today; it has enriched relationships with artists, botanists, historians and the institutions that support botanical research and education worldwide; and it has become an important marker in the careers of many botanical artists and illustrators who have seen this exhibition as a milestone. We have been honored to play such an important role for so many and to have been a part of the resurgence of appreciation for botanical art.
As we carry this reflection forward, looking toward our 17th International in the fall of 2024, it is only natural that we would want to celebrate some of those incredible artworks that have become a part of our collection as a direct result of this exhibition series. While it would be impossible for us to share artwork from all 1,212 artists, we are able to showcase smaller groupings that are representative of the vast range of styles, mediums, techniques and subjects within the world of botanical art and illustration. This fall we begin with Looking Back: An International Retrospective, Part 1, which explores the first eight International series exhibitions and covers the years 1964 through 1995. Artists included are Elfriede Abbe, Marie Felicity Angel, Krisztina Bíró, Raymond C. Booth, Jenny Brasier, Paul M. Breeden, Diane Bridson, Claus Caspari, Albert Cleuter, Walter Child Cleveland, Carolyn Bank Crawford, James Alvin Eder, Ann Farrer, Elsa Maria Maurischat Felsko, Stephen Fisher, Susan M. Fox, John Paul Wellington Furse, Irina G. Gai, Mary Anderson Grierson, Lyn Hayden, Sue Herbert, Mieko Ishikawa, Eliza Klopfenstein, Otto Ludwig Kunz, Petr Liška, Hortensia Llanacoplos, David Longley, Donald A. Mackay, Roderick (Rory) McEwen, Garry Newton, Kevin M. Nicolay, Chizuko Noritake, Karin Persson, Jaggu Prasad, Madeleine Rollinat, Arthur Wisner Rushmore, Masao Saito, Eugeni Sierra-Rafols, Lilian Snelling, Dylan Stone, Anne Marie Trechslin, Katharina Margarete Annemarie Tröger, Greta Turkovic, Ladislav Urban and Marthe and Juliette Vesque.
The reception on Thursday, 14 September (5:00–7:00 PM) is open to the public. At 5:30 PM in the gallery the curator will introduce the exhibition and the artists in attendance.
The exhibition will be on display on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University and will be open to the public free of charge. Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–noon and 1:00–5:00 p.m. (except 23–24 November). Because our hours of operation are occasionally subject to change, please call or email before your visit to confirm. For further information, contact the Hunt Institute at 412-268-2434.
Calling all Hunt Institute International series artists
We want to hear from you! As we reflect on 60 years of exhibiting the best contemporary botanical artists, we are reaching out to those artists who have been included in the International series with the hope of updating our databases and records ahead of the 17th International in 2024. If you have been included in an International exhibition, please send us your updated contact information, biographical information or résumés and portraits via the form on our International series exhibition page.