Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

5.02.2012

Peony-related

[Cy Twombly, Peonies, Bassano in Teverina, 1980 Color dry-print, Gagosian Gallery

I've been coveting this work by Cy Twombly. It's among one hundred of the late artist's photographs currently on view at the Gagosian in Beverly Hills through June 9, 2012.  An exhibition catalogue should be available shortly but in the meantime, you can learn about Virginia-born Twombly's more famous peony paintings here, here, and here.

[Image via Barnes & Noble]

[Image via Gagosian Gallery]

[Portrait Portrait of Yayoi Kusama in her room in her parents’ home in Matsumoto, c.1957
 via Tate blog]

Although she was strongly discouraged from becoming a professional artist, as a young girl Yayoi Kusama filled her notebook with intricate sketches of peonies, writes Rachel Taylor for Tate. This notebook is on view now in Kusama.


Three centuries ago, and still today, Westerners can't get enough of the Eastern-originating blooms. Shown above, a detail of an 18th-century Coromandel coast painted and dyed cotton palampore (bed covering or wall hanging) with Chinese design elements including stylized peony branches and birds. From the V & A's collection.

[Photo by Lisa Hubbard for Southern Accents, March-April 2006]

Remember this image from a past post? Not far from where Twombly was born, historian William Howard Adams planted 40 tree peonies at his Shenandoah Valley house, Hazelfield. Six years ago, Adams told Southern Accents that he was inspired by the gardens at the Summer Palace in Beijing; the empress' blooms were massed against a boulder brought in to simulate the plant's rugged habitat in Northern China, and this brought to Adams's mind the landscape at his own West Virginia home.


[Photo my own]
I don't have a garden comparable to Adams's but I love how the splash of deep-purple-red on these store bought peonies (Whole Foods -- nice array this week) echos the abstract painting on my wall.

 [Photo my own]

You might also like Ngoc Minh Ngo Brings it Home.

6 comments:

Terry said...

That was just delightful, reading this is what I needed just now. As a bonus saying "peony-related" over and over relaxes me. That's a good combination in a blog post.

Style Court said...

Terry -- good to hear!

The Devoted Classicist said...

Courtney, we both would enjoy visiting the peony plantation developed by famed retired florist/tobacco heir Rennie Reynolds on his picturesque New Jersey farm. He sells the cut flowers to the wholesale market and his nephew who specializes in weddings if I am remembering correctly.

Style Court said...

I definitely would love to visit.

Janet said...

My jaw dropped the first time I saw one of Twombly's photographs. They are so wonderful. The Twombly Gallery at the Menil is one of my favorite places.

Style Court said...

Janet -- the photographs recently zoomed to the very top of my fantasy wish list. Currently daydreaming about a room in which to hang them.