“Art is a harmony parallel with nature.”
We couldn’t agree more with the great post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Garden design and landscape architecture are forms of creative expression, much like painting, sculpture and photography. Consider the abundance of glossy coffee-table books about gardens! And so, it makes sense that some of our Preservation partners also showcase impressive art collections – a personal passion that further enhances the visitor experience.
The mission of LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, NY, is explicitly “to exemplify living with art in all of its forms” and its garden focus is “to create landscapes as art forms.” Collections of conifers, flowering trees, ornamental grasses and other perennials co-mingle with major outdoor art exhibitions as part of “Sculpture in the Garden.” Since purchasing the 16-acre property in 1975, owner Jack Lenor Larsen – himself a textile artist and designer – has assembled more than 60 contemporary sculptures on the landscaped grounds by artists including Willem de Kooning, Sol LeWitt, Toshiko Takaezu, Dale Chihuly, and Yoko Ono. These permanent works are on display with those on seasonal loan from artists, collectors, and dealers. Particularly unique is inventor and philosopher Buckminster Fuller’s futuristic “Fly’s Eye Dome,” an over-sized modular prototype developed and produced by John Kuthik.
A national historic landmark inside New Orleans city limits, Longue Vue House & Gardens boasts a unique mix of modern art pieces amidst more formal antiques and historic artifacts, housed within a Classical Revival-style mansion. Founders Edith and Edgar Stern intended for Longue Vue to be a decorative arts museum and amassed remarkable furniture, tableware, clothing, and needlework from all over the world. In the early1960s, Mrs. Stern began to build an impressive collection of modern art, starting with a Kandinsky painting. Inside the house are many works by renowned optical artist Victor Vasarely, and a variety of other 20th century artists including Pablo Picasso, Naum Gabo, Robert Michel, Henri Laurens, Jaacov Agam, Jean Arp, Barbara Hepworth, and Jésus Soto.
Many of Pearl Fryar’s horticultural and metal sculptures convey messages, literally. At the southern curve of the driveway to his topiary garden in Bishopville, SC, the self-taught artist and gardener has cut shrubs into the letters L-O-V-E. Thoughtful words can also be found in his metal “junk art” sculptures, located throughout the property, such as “peace,” “love,” and “hate hurts.” His final message to visitors, upon leaving the property, is “Love, Peace + Goodwill,” 8-foot-tall letters cut right into the ground.
John Fairey, owner of Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead, TX, is trained as a painter, having studied with artistic luminaries including Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and David Smith. A teaching job in design at Texas A & M is what originally brought him from graduate school in Pennsylvania to the 7 acres he purchased near Houston in 1971. Fairey converted the property’s original farmhouse into a gallery that now displays the vast collection of Mexican folk art he accumulated from years and years of plant-hunting excursions there. A tour of Peckerwood is further enhanced with outdoor sculptures by artist-friends and other architectural embellishments.
Our newest Preservation partner garden, Hortulus Farm, in Wrightstown, PA, includes a museum on the property founded by the owners as a public showplace for their collections. Begun in 1985, Jack Staub and Renny Reynolds’ art collection totals 38 paintings and works on paper by such celebrated local artists as Edward Redfield, George Sotter, William Lathrop, Fern Coppedge, and Daniel Garber – recognized as the “New Hope Impressionists” for their mutual connection to that landscape and the Delaware River.