Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Art In Bloom

Every spring, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) does a special exhibit called Art in Bloom. A certain number of the works of art in the MIA's collection are chosen, and then florists, gardeners, artists, or anyone else who wants to can participate. Each participant creates a floral arrangement to go with the specific painting or sculpture that they are working with. Some even do more than one.

Olive Trees, Vincent Van Gogh,
arrangement by Amy Krzmarzick, Carriere's Floral

This year it was held May 1-4, and I went this past Friday with my mom and some friends of ours. It's always so interesting to see what people come up with. As with anything, there are varying degrees of success.

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Pierre August Rodin,
arrangement and vase by Lois Ann Helgeson
[This was especially cool to see, as I was just there!]

In my opinion, the floral arrangements need to meet several different criteria to really be spot on. First of all, they need to capture the feel of the work of art, without actually copying it directly. To me, this means that they need to have the same colors and shapes, and evoke the same feel that the art does. But at the same time, it can't just be trying to replicate the art exactly.

Portrait of Clementine (Mrs. Alphonse) Karr, Henri Lehmann,
arrangement by Brenda Johnson and Mary Parker

Secondly, the vase used needs to complement the arrangement and the art, but shouldn't be used as a crutch. The flowers should be able to represent the art on their own, and the container they are in should enhance the relationship to the artwork, but not be the main link to it.

Thirdly, I like it when the flowers could stand alone as a beautiful arrangement even if you saw them out of the context of the exhibit.

Temptation, William Adolphe Bouguereau,
arrangement by Mary Olafson, Richfield Garden Club Council

The painting above is one of my favorites in the museum's collection.

[Just an aside here - Bouguereau is absolutely one of my favorite artists. I realize that he is not highly looked upon in the art world (and perhaps that says something about my taste in art) but I love him nonetheless. When the curator of the Louvre came to visit the MIA, it is said that he complimented everyone there on how well the museum looked, and then added "...though I do notice you have your Bouguereau out on display." Hmpf...]

So I had to include a photo of this one because it's my favorite painting, but I just wanted to say one thing about the floral arrangement. It is very well done, but if I were doing it, I would add one thing. You know those tiny sized roses? I would take one in a yellow/orange color and add it to the left hand middle part of the arrangement. I don't like things to be too literal in the arrangements, but I do think it is key as the painting is called Temptation, after all. :)

Lucretia, Rembrandt van Rijn,
arrangement by Joan Fox, Fleurish

All of the pieces I have shared with you are ones that I thought were excellent (and there were many, many others that were beautiful, too, but I felt I should narrow down what I put on here or this could have been a very long post!). But the one above may have been our favorite from the show. It was absolutely stunning.

If you ever happen to be in the Twin Cities in May, you should definitely check this exhibit out (this year was their 25th anniversary!).


  1. Wow, what stunning art and floral displays! Your favourite is really beautiful and I must admit I haven't heard of Bouguereau before. My pick would have to be the Van Gogh..I am a lover of the post impressionists..my favourite is Cezanne. Thanks for sharing ~ I'm quite envious! :O)

  2. This is so interesting - what a great concept! {Thanks for sharing it}

  3. What a lovely idea for an exhibition!

    I love Pre-Raphaelite art, which is lucky since there is a lot of it on view in this country!

  4. I like the floral arrangement by Brenda Johnson and Mary Parker. I think it really complements the painting well.


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