Monday, January 31, 2011

Musing on Piet Oudolf and Friends

Here's what the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park looked like this past September when I led a garden tour there to explore some of Piet Oudolf's perennial installations and what they can teach us. It's been a great laboratory for many of us as the garden [also designed by landscape architect, Kathryn Gustafson and light & set designer, Robert Israel] has had to deal with a number of the challenges that face gardeners in this region: extreme weather, increased wildlife, crappy soil.

To see and hear a few of the things I have noticed, please attend my favorite group gathering, the Wicker Park Garden Club next Monday, February 7th at 7 pm. As part of their lecture series, my topic will be: "Piet Oudolf's Influences and Those He Influenced." You need to register first.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good Design Lasts

This cup & saucer makes me feel good when I am at home in Sweden. It was acquired by my husband's grandmother; by its design, I assume in the 1950s. It was manufactured by the unique Finnish tableware company, Arabia. Their history page has a fascinating time line of their development and products. I will never forget the deep blue cup & saucer with the modern motif that accompanied me through young adulthood from apartment to apartment.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Architecture at the Green Hotel Art Collection

Swedish cathedral architect, Rolf Bergh, designed the Greenverket to reflect the nearby mountains. Note the slope of the ceiling. It was a pleasant place to view art.

Art at the Green Hotel on Lake Siljan

Picasso Ceramics

While in Sweden, we watched tv without cable....which mean only four channels. But they were pretty substantial. One night we saw a documentary on the owner (Hans Erik Borjeson) of the Green Hotel in nearby Tallberg. He developed one of Sweden's most successful tour companies and eventually moved out of Sweden. However, he has a fine art collection which can be viewed for free at the hotel most Saturdays at 3 pm. The Hotel was quite charming on Christmas Day...and we lucked out since Borjeson was present and gave a thoughtful little talk before we viewed the collection.

Max Ernst Drawing or Print

Although he began by collecting a convention Picasso (The Dove), I found other pieces more interesting as his taste evolved. He collected both Zorn and Carl Larsson (Swedes) as well as internationally.

Below are three Swedish works I liked by artists whose names I didn't record...the pieces are not identified except in a few copies of makeshift books that circulate.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Emma Zorn's Life

Show Poster (reflecting Japanese influence)

Behind every great man...
Really true in Emma Zorn's case, the wife of Anders Zorn.
She was responsible for getting preserved the house & garden and for the Zorn museum happening.

This show was exhibited rather creatively so the small galleries felt like different planets.

Emma's Clothes Through "Forested" Gallery

Her family encouraged her wide-ranging cultural interests from a young age in Stockholm. In older years, Emma became very involved with encouraging local crafts and education in Dalarna. The Zorn Museum website describes her as: "radical, outgoing and realistic."

Young Emma at Play

Several photographs show her with small dogs...

Emma with Furry Friend(s)

Anders Zorn's Palette

Zorn's Actual Palette

The more I look at work by the great Swedish painter, Anders Zorn, the more impressed I am by his use of white on white. Ironically, it is not so much his paintings of snow, but nudes, church scenes, water and portraits where he employed his masterful techniques.

Zorn's Favorite Palette

While Zorn's Masterpiece Exhibit (show and book curated by the wonderful Museum Director, Johan Cederlund) is on loan in Stockholm, we saw some other compelling things at the Zorn Museum in Mora. Look at their website for some better reproductions of his work.

Zorn Working With His Palette

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Partial Swedish Solar Eclipse

Yes, we are back home in Evanston...with its usual technological challenges and temptations. And lack of my mother-in-law's handpicked lingonberry jam. And no snow: I am in mourning for that beauty.

So I have finally posted photos to go with my posts from Sweden. Though they were the last two weeks of December, somehow most of them (except for December 19th) posted as December 21st; not a bad day, given it was the Solstice, Full Moon and a Lunar Eclipse. Here you can see an image our friend, Elin Ulman, emailed from the beginning of this first week of the new year. It shows a partial Solar Eclipse on their island a bit North of Stockholm...there are so many islands in the archipelago that many people have homes on them. The Baltic is pretty awesome.