Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arader Galleries Hosts Botanical Watercolor Class

Arader Galleries was pleased to coordinate a botanical exhibition in honor of Mary Harden (botanical artist and educator) and her students Wednesday afternoon. Approximately 50 art enthusiasts gathered to study the splendor of Arader Galleries’ magnificent botanical collection. The exhibition included works by Georg Ehert, Baldassare Cattrani, Jacques Le Moyne, and lastly Pierre Joseph Redoute—the indisputable star.

Everyone was pleased to learn an exciting fact regarding the influence of Redoute on botanical art: Mary pointed out that stippling (technique in printmaking of carving small dots to which ink is applied to produce a greater or lesser density of ink, which simulates varying degrees of shading) is seen in numerous 19th century, hand drawn, botanical illustrations because artists drew directly from the minute study of Redoute’s hand-colored stipple engravings rather than from nature itself—therefore including unnatural elements such as stippling. The implication is clear: artists felt Redoute had depicted the elusive character of nature so exquisitely that it made drawing from nature seem obsolete!

Like most still-lifes, flowers permit artists to display refinement in their artistic methods, yet botanical artists distinguish themselves in that they examine their objects with scientific rigor while simultaneously employing sensitivity for the aesthetic means of its reproduction. Indeed, few subjects in art are more beguiling and universally admired than flower still-lifes.

Arader Galleries’ material provided the perfect platform for Mary as she found numerous examples enabling her to relay her extensive knowledge of the technical and aesthetic challenges botanical artists face, as well as history of botanical illustration. Arader Galleries would like to thank Mary and her students for joining us in our appreciation for rare works on paper. Please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 for more information on upcoming events!

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