Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Peonies and Elephant's Ear

[Picture taken at Whole Foods 2009.]

I don't expect to come across a bounty of peonies like this again until May -- or possibly in February for Valentine's. Yesterday, I felt lucky to find any flowers at all. But the snow didn't keep Anthropologie from shipping in armloads of beautiful blooms for the Westside opening.  Seeing an abundance of peonies, ranunculus, flowering branches and leafy green plants when I made my first quick sweep through the new Atlanta location was invigorating. The natural-light-filled corner spot on Howell Mill Road is a terrific fit for Anthro -- urban yet literally still tied to the land.

Apart from the fresh flowers and punchy nods to Vera Neumann, one of the displays that really caught my eye was a dramatic grouping of neutral African baskets high above the front entrance.  (The Savannah Story creatures show off well here, too.) So, that put me in the mood to look for African baskets in various museum collections.

[Detail view: Bamileke. Kuosi Society Elephant Mask, 20th century. Cloth, beads, raffia, fiber, 56 3/4 x 21 1/2 in. (144.1 x 54.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Milton F. Rosenthal, 81.170. Creative Commons-BY-NC.]

Along the way, though, I found myself looking at the Brooklyn Museum's beaded, indigo-hued Kuosi Society Elephant Mask created by an unknown artist working in the Bamileke style. This elephant made the cover of African Art: A Century at the Brooklyn Museum -- not a small accomplishment considering the Museum's major collection of African pieces. There's a great Brooklyn Museum blog post about it here.

[Elephant Headdress, Bamileke Artist, Cameroon, 19th century, glass beads, wood, cloth, raffia, 17 1/2 inches. Learn more about this piece and the High's Collectors' Evening 2011 here.]

Had it not been for this High video, I might not have paused to notice the use of blue in these beaded masks.

 [Detail view: Bamileke beaded elephant mask (dark cloth decorated with multi-colored glass beads in geometric patterns), Cameroon. The Collection of Frieda and Milton Rosenthal: African and Oceanic Art. Sotheby's.]

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art also has a similar late-19th-century Elephant Society Mask.

As mentioned last year, Memphis is home to some wonderful art patrons (like architect John J. Tackett). Click here to learn more about the Brooks' Decorative Arts Trust and the winter 2011 Master Classes.

[Hermes African-inspired Twilly.]
Related past post: Kelly en Perles.


Divine Theatre said...

Sgh...I knew I should have planted peonies when they were on sale at Home Depot!
This year for certain!

The Devoted Classicist said...

Thanks for the mention again of Decorative Arts Trust and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. You would have especially loved a garden symposium we gave in March, 2009, when famed floral designer and party planner Renny Reynolds showed his Pennsylvannia estate, part of which is a fabulous peony plantation. ___ John J Tackett, President, DAT

EFT Therapy said...

I love peonies! They can brighten up any room with a cute decorative vase!