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Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Past Exhibitions

What We Collect: Recent Art Acquisitions

14 September – 20 December 2006

The Hunt Institute continues to acquire watercolors, drawings and prints for our collection of over 30,000 artworks depicting plants on paper and vellum. This selection of 80 recently acquired artworks, ranging from the 17th century through the present, provided an overview of what we collect in the Hunt Institute Art Department. Many of these were scientific drawings of plants showing details and cross-sections; some were horticultural watercolors and prints of flowers, fruits and vegetables; and others depicted landscapes or plants in their habitats. These artworks have been used to illustrate floras, monographs, scientific or horticultural journals, or have been prepared for exhibitions. Some of these artists have depicted cultivated, native and endangered plants while others have shown the relationship between plants and their pollinators. There is a selection of intriguing images of slime molds and seaweed that resemble otherworldly plants. Whether working alongside botanists or preparing artworks for collectors, galleries or commercial use, artists throughout the centuries have added their own special perspective to portraying plants.

These artworks came to us via many channels, but chiefly—and fortunately for us—as gifts. Some donations included every illustration for a specific publication while others included additional artworks from artists who have participated in our triennial International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration. Sometimes we were given or bequeathed works from earlier centuries or given funds to add to our limited acquisitions budget. This exhibition included a selection of botanical artworks that we had acquired in recent years but had not had an opportunity to share with the public.

The artists working before 1900 included Basil Besler (1561–1629); Sydenham Edwards (?1769–1819), Will Kilburn (1745–1818) and James Sowerby (1757–1822); Alice Blanche Ellis and Edith Elizabeth Bull (dates unknown); Giorgio Liberale (fl. mid-1500s) and Wolfgang Meyerpeck (dates unknown); Joseph Prestele (1796–1867); Wilhelm Heinrich (William Henry) Prestele (1838–1895); Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840); Isaac Sprague (1811–1895); and Pierre-Jean-François Turpin (1775–1840). The contemporary artists featured included Beverly Allen, Dorothy Osdieck Allen (Mrs. Paul Allen; 1911–1973), Olive Anderson, Gary Alan Bukovnik, Elizabeth Cadman, Richard Carroll (1931–2001), Celia Crampton, Sally Crosthwaite, Etienne Demonte (1931–2004), Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden (1907–2007), Patricia M. Eckel, Jean L. Emmons, Diana Everett, Stephen Fisher, Stephen A. Fredericks, (Mrs.) R. E. Gamble, Janice Glimn-Lacy (1935–2013), Job Kuijt, Stanley Maltzman, Jesse Markman, Suzanne Olive, Dorothy Kate Hughes Popenoe (attr. to), Jaggu Prasad, Wilfred A. Readio (1895–1961), Ann Robertson, Judith Scheidig, Harry Schwalb, Suresh Chand Sharma, Yvonne Skargon, Catherine J. Hanforth Steiner, Henry Stempen, Maria Rita Stirpe, Kazuto Takahashi, Alice Ruth Tangerini, Bronwyn Van de Graaff, Monika E. de Vries Gohlke, Anita Walsmit Sachs and Carol Woodin.

Aesculus hippocastanum, Leaf & Fruit [Aesculus hippocastanum Linnaeus, Hippocastanaceae], watercolor on paper by Elizabeth Cadman (1946–), 2003, 38 × 56.5 cm, HI Art accession no. 7634, reproduced by permission of the artist.

Selected Artworks

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