Saturday, February 19, 2011

Japanese Garden at Devonian Botanical Garden in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Public Domain Photo: The central lake and bridge section of the Japanese Garden of the Devonian Botanical Garden located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Please do not misunderstand the name ‘Japanese Garden’ as it may give the impression that it is a Garden in Japan. In fact the name is internationally used to refer to any garden that is built and maintained in the traditional Japanese style in any part of the world. Such gardens can add beauty and the richness of Japanese culture and styling in developing and maintaining gardens, especially when they are developed as an expression of art and mostly linked to ink paintings and calligraphy. So, Japanese Gardens are very popular not only in Japan, but they are very popular in the West since the 19th century. An example is the above photo of the the Devonian Botanic Garden in Canada.

Established in 1959 by the University of Alberta, The Devonian Botanic Garden is near the town of Devon. This garden is spread over an expanse of sand dune shoreline of the pre-glacial Lake Edmonton, and it measures over 30 hectares (or, over 80 acres), to which about 110 acres of natural habitat areas was added in the year 1976. Renowned for its diverse variety of flora and fauna, including the alpine types of hardy plants found in the coldest of terrains, the University of Alberta conducts a variety research activities on plant conservation, microfungi, bryophyte ecology, horticultural plants, etc. with an emphasis on unfolding secrets of biodiversity.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carl Fredrik Hill: Trädet och flodkröken III (Bois-le-Roi)

Public Domain Images: Trädet och flodkröken III (Bois-le-Roi), oil on canvas painting (1877) by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Hill (1849-1911), currently located at Nationalmuseum Stockholm (National Museum of Fine Arts, the national gallery of Sweden).

Carl Fredrik Hill: Seine-Landschaft mit Pappeln

Public Domain Image: Seine-Landschaft mit Pappeln (1877), oil on canvas painting by Swedish painter Carl Fredrik Hill (1849-1911), 74 cm x 108 cm, located at Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

Carl Fredrik Hill: Seine-Landschaft bei Bois-Le-Roi

Public Domain Photo: Seine-Landschaft bei Bois-Le-Roi (variously titled in English as ‘Seine Landscape in Bois-Le-Roi’, ‘The Tree and the River Bend’, ‘Motive from Bois-le-Roi on the River Seine’, etc.), oil on canvas painting (1877) , 53 cm x 72 cm, by the Swedish painter Carl Fredrik Hill, currently in Göteborgs konstmuseum (Gothenburg Museum of Art) in Sweden.

Having born and spent the early years of his life in Lund, Sweden, Carl Fredrik Hill (1849-1911) started his career as a landscape painter. After studying at the Stockholm Academy of Fine Arts, Hill moved to France, and went to Barbizon in the south of Paris in 1874. Barbizon was home to several artists and most of the budding artists of his time converged there.

Hill had had little success as an artist, because his works were not accepted at the Paris Salons. Eventually at the age of 28, he was hospitalized with a severe psychotic attack, ending his career as a landscape painter. With the help of his friends, he went home where he was hospitalized. After a short period in the St. Lars mental hospital in Lund, he was mostly restrained to his home in the care of his sister and mother until his death in 1911.

The period of 28 years before his death is considered his ‘second great period’ as art writers would later describe. It was a new phase of his career that saw him creating thousands of drawings applying various techniques and using watercolor, India ink, pencil, ink, crayon, etc. His inspiration for these works was his memories of various scenes that influenced him, his vivid imagination and art illustrations found on books and other publications.

Hill’s life as an artist started with the vehement opposition from his father who was a mathematics professor who did not want him to become an artist. It was followed by various rejections of his works by the Paris Salons, and possibly such depressive treatment he got must have lead to his suffering from the psychotic attack which was later diagnosed as hallucinations and paranoia. After being released from the hospital, he continued to work only to find an outlet for his creative quest, and to defend himself from the staring failure of his life as an artist. And Carl Fredrik Hill was never given the recognition as an artist during his lifetime.

Several of his work were neglected and lost, but some 3500 drawings are estimated to exist. Out of these, over 2000 drawings and 23 of his oil paintings are in the Malmö Art Museum. Most of these works were donated to the museum by Hill's heirs.

After Carl Fredrik Hill’s death his drawings were located mainly by artists, who admired his work and style. In 1949 an exhibition of his works was held in Geneva, Hamburg, London, Basel, Luzern, and in Paris in 1952. These exhibitions triggered of a series of books on Hill’s works. Now Hill is recognized as one of the best of Sweden's landscape painters, and his works inspire artists internationally. A recognition that eluded Hill during his lifetime!

Art critics and historians have opined that Hill anticipated many of the modern art movements and his works even influenced great artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and many others.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arunima Kumar performs at Khajuraho Dance Festival

Public Domain Photo: Kuchipudi dancer Arunima Kumar performs at the Khajuraho Dance Festival on 5th February 2010.