Art of the Flower(cl)

Hans-Michael Herzog, Editor, Rolf Sachsse, Joint Author, Norber Schneider, Joint Author Edition Stemmle $55 (144p) ISBN 978-3-905514-95-7
The strength of this handsomely illustrated volume, published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, is in its beautiful color and duotone reproductions, arranged to show how modern floral still-life artists have broken with tradition. In one sequence, a delicate 17th-century painting of a tulip is followed by Helmut Schweizer's series of photographs in which a single tulip is callously destroyed. In another, a vase of golden chrysanthemums by the 19th-century painter Henri Fantin-Latour is placed on a page facing Helen Chadwick's sexually suggestive photograph of yellow flowers arranged in concentric circles on a gelatinous substance and titled ""Wreath to Pleasure."" In the brief, sometimes opaque, introductory essays, Herzog, chief curator at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, traces the history of the floral still life from the sumptuous bouquets of 17th-century painters to the contemporary artists' rejection of prettiness in favor of morbid, erotic, unnatural or technological themes. Schneider discusses this art form during the 17th and 18th centuries; and Sachsse treats flower photography. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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