The nationally traveling exhibition Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps: Contemporary Botanical Artists Explore the Bartrams’ Legacy opens today at the Cherokee Garden Library at the Atlanta History Center. A collaboration between the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) and Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, the exhibition features world-class contemporary botanical artworks depicting plants discovered and cultivated by 18th century naturalists John and William Bartram. Early American explorers, John Bartram and his son, William, traversed the wilderness of the American colonies from the 1730s to the 1790s, recording the region’s flora, fauna, and Native American culture. The exhibition reflects John and William’s passionate observation and discovery of nature, which has influenced generations of artists and explorers.
Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps, presented by the Cherokee Garden Library at the Atlanta History Center, is on display in McElreath Hall, March 19 – June 17, 2014. The exhibition is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM;
Sunday, Noon – 5:00 PM; free to the public.
The original artworks were selected from a field of nearly 200 entries submitted by ASBA members from around the world. The exhibition allows a fresh look at the Bartrams’ seminal body of knowledge and art. William’s illustrations were often the first images seen of North American plants and animals. Depictions of beautiful native rarities including Franklinia alatamaha (commonly known as the Franklin tree), now believed to be extinct in the wild, Dodecatheon (commonly called shooting star), and American lotus are included in the display. Other subjects include foxglove, morning glory and cockscomb – examples of introductions the Bartrams made to American gardens through their dedication to botany.
Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps also seeks to illuminate the role contemporary artists play in depicting these same plants for today’s audience, preserving their record for generations to come. The exhibition promises to appeal to a wide audience as it ties together art, science, history, nature, and culture. Artists enthusiastically sought out their chosen plants, with some having gone so far as to track down heirloom seeds and cultivate them in their own gardens in order to be able to paint a particularly appealing subject.
This evening’s opening event includes a lecture at 7 PM followed by a reception and an opportunity to explore the exhibition. Joel Fry, Curator of Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia will present a survey of William Bartram’s illustrations and examine the scope and influences of his career as a seminal American natural history illustrator. Fry, who is widely published, is a leading scholar on both John and William Bartram and their botanic and collecting careers in the eighteenth century.
Tickets for the lecture are $25 and reservations are required; call 404-814-4150 or purchase online at AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/Bartram. Docent-led group tours are available for a fee and by appointment. Please email Group Tours at the Atlanta History Center.
This beautiful complement to the exhibition, Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps: Contemporary Botanical Artists Explore the Bartrams’ Legacy, includes an introduction by Joel Fry, Curator, Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.
It also includes an essay by Patricia Jonas, Exhibitions Chair of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). In her essay, Jonas provides background information about the artwork in this traveling exhibition.
This 20-page booklet includes drawings and paintings by: Maryann Roper, Lizzie Sanders, Bobbi Angell, John Bartram, William Bartram, Beverly Duncan, Catherine Watters, Betsy Rogers-Knox, Wendy Cortesi, Lara Call Gastinger, Karen Kluglein, Dick Rauh, Joan Lavigueur Geyer, Judith Simon, Maria Cecilia Freeman, Derek Norman and Diane McElwain.
Available at ArtPlantae ($5, free shipping).