Redouté to Warhol: Bunny Mellon’s Botanical Art

An Extraordinary Exhibition at The New York Botanical Garden Explores the Many Aspects of Botanical Works of Art. Showcasing masterworks from one of the world’s great private libraries devoted to the plant world, Redouté to Warhol: Bunny Mellon’s Botanical Art will be on view in the Art Gallery of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at NYBG from October 8, 2016, through February 12, 2017.

This stunning exhibition comprises nearly 80 works, ranging from the 14th through the 20th centuries, from the Oak Spring Garden Library, which the late Rachel Lambert (“Bunny”) Mellon founded on her estate in Upperville, Virginia. Among the featured works—many never before exhibited publicly—will be rare masterpieces by renowned botanical artists such as Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (ca. 1533–88), Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840) and Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708–70), as well as 20th-century paintings by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and Andy Warhol (1928–87). Particularly striking is a central gallery wall with a grid of 17 paintings on copper by Dutch artist Jan van Kessel (1626–79). Arranged to emulate a cabinet of curiosities, these highly detailed works depict plants, insects, arachnids, mollusks, and reptiles.

Bunny Mellon, who died in 2014 at age 103, was an accomplished garden designer, legendary art collector, and noted philanthropist. Over the course of decades, Mrs. Mellon assembled a distinguished collection of botanical artwork and a library of more than 10,000 volumes on botanical subjects, reference resources that informed her professional pursuits as well as her personal interests in Oak Spring’s greenhouses and gardens.
Redouté to Warhol is co-curated by Dr. Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, a leading expert on herbals and botanical art and author of two publications documenting the Oak Spring Garden Library collection; Susan Fraser, Vice President and Director of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at NYBG; and Tony Willis, Librarian of the Oak Spring Garden Library.

A fully illustrated catalog is available and a series of public programs is planned during the exhibition.