The Artist’s Garden

Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery

“…the best examples of the genre.” – Philadelphia Magazine

The Artist’s Garden will tell the story of American Impressionist artists and the growing popularity of gardening as a leisure pursuit at the turn of the 20th century. Focusing on the American Garden Movement of 1887-1920, the exhibition will consider such themes as American artists’ visits to European gardens; the enthusiasm for gardening among women; the urban garden, the artist’s garden, and the garden in winter. Organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue will include representations of gardens across the United States and Europe.

Among the artists whose work will be included are some of the most beloved artists in the Reynolda House collection such as William Merritt Chase and Childe Hassam, along with other major American artists not represented at Reynolda, including Cecilia Beaux, Maria Oakey Dewing, Frederick Carl Frieseke, John Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir.

Katharine Smith Reynolds’s creation of the Reynolda estate, with its formal gardens and carefully landscaped grounds, coincides with and reflects the American Garden Movement. Reynolda architect Charles Barton Keen and landscape architect Thomas Sears were both from Philadelphia, the center of the movement. Katharine Reynolds, a woman always up to date, subscribed to a number of influential periodicals that helped spread information about gardening, including Country Life in America and Garden magazine. Her library also contained important gardening books. A complementary exhibition on the gardens and landscape at Reynolda, Reynolda at 100: Reynolda Gardens, will be on view at the same time in the historic house.

The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement 1887-1920 was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with leading support from the Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc and the Richard C. von Hess Foundation. The Major Exhibition Sponsors are Bill and Laura Buck, and Christie’s. Additional support from Bowman Properties, Ltd., the Burpee Foundation, Edward and Wendy Harvey, Mr. and Mrs. Washburn S. Oberwager, Pennsylvania Trust, Alan P. Slack, Martin Stogniew, in memory of Judy Stogniew, a lover of art and gardening, the Victory Foundation, Ken Woodcock, and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. 

Full image credits:

1. Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931), The Crimson Rambler, ca. 1908, Oil on canvas; 25 1/4 x 30 3/16 in., Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Joseph E. Temple Fund, 1909.12 Photo: PAFA/Barbara Katus & Brian van Camerik

2. Gari Melchers (1860-1932), Woman Reading by a Window, 1905, Oil on canvas; 25 ½ x 30 in., Greenville County Museum of Art, SC, Gift of The Museum Association, Inc. with funds donated by: Mr. and Mrs. Alester G. Furman III; Mr. and Mrs. M. Dexter Hagy; Mr. and Mrs. William W. Kehl; Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey G. Lawson; Mr. and Mrs. Hurdle Lea; Stanton D. and Jessica S. Loring; Mr. and Mrs. E. Erwin Maddrey II; Mr. and Mrs. Buck Mickel; Dorothy P. Peace; Mary Burnet M. Pearce; Mr. and Mrs. James M. Shoemaker, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott Small; W. Thomas Smith; Mr. and Mrs. Richard F. Watson, Jr.; Millie and Wilson Wearn 

3. William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), An Italian Garden, ca. 1909, Oil on canvas; 16 x 21 7/8 in., Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Gift of Edward J. Brickhouse, 59.79.1

4. Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942), In the Luxembourg (Garden), 1889, Oil on panel, 9 3/16 x 12 1/4 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.167 

5. Richard Emil (or Edward) Miller (1875-1943), The Pool, c. 1910, Oil on canvas, 32 x 39 7/16 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1988.13. Photo: © Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago