Museum Exhibitions

 

 Current Exhibit

 

Nymphs of the Garden: The Water Lilies by Arslan
August 2020–March 2021  
Les Nymphéas: A Different Point of View, Immersion, Reflections by Arslan, Oil on canvas, Ca. 2019–2020, Courtesy of The Bee in the Lion, gallery in New York; Photo credit: Virginia Harold.

Humans have been captivated by water lilies for millennia. As one of the earliest known groups of angiosperms (seed-producing flowering plants), water lilies are perfectly constructed for life on the water and in aquatic environments, both natural and human made. Native to tropical and temperate climates, the family Nymphaeaceae is named from the Greek for the mythical water nymphs, feminine nature spirits that presided over bodies of water. Appearing in the fossil record from the Early Cretaceous period (125–115 million years ago), water lilies have been found as seeds, flowers, stems, pollen, and leaves. As aquatic rhizomatic plants, water lilies are rooted in soil in water, and the flowers and leaves emerge and float on the water’s surface; they are pollinated by beetles, bees, and flies, but can also be self-or wind-pollinated. The ancient cultures of Egypt and Mexico were mesmerized by water lilies. These plants represented several deities, and the underworld, and were often considered a symbol of rebirth and everlasting life. 

 

 

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The Missouri Botanical Garden has one of the most significant and historic live collections of water lilies. Since the late 19th century, the Garden has hosted aquatic plants on the grounds and in the greenhouses, and several horticultural specialists have focused their talents and vision to propagate and design the Garden’s water lily pools to have a spectacular show of many species and cultivars every summer. This exhibition focuses on the Garden’s history and collections of these exquisite plants and offers an aesthetic interpretation of the beauty of the Garden’s water lilies’ by artist Arslan, who was inspired by Claude Monet’s important series of water lily paintings, Les Nymphéas, which are on permanent view at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. Enjoy the artworks and specimens in the exhibition, and then make sure to find and delight in the water lilies as they grow and bloom in the pools around the Garden from May to October. 

 

Virtual Offerings 

 

Explore the exhibit virtually

See more of the exhibit and learn about its production

Immerse yourself in Arslan's paintings with a guided meditation

Explore Claude Monet's dual passions for fine arts and horticulture

Download the Nymphs of the Garden activity sheet

  

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Acknowledgments:

 

Grateful thanks to Deborah and Patrick Starke and W. William and Kelly Haines for their support of the exhibition, in loving memory of Dorris Bachman Haines Davis.

Special acknowledgments to all contributors to the exhibition: Arslan, Bee Tham, Derek Lyle, Tom Incrocci, Mary Merello, Lauren Peters, Sally Bommarito, Rita Chiodini, Fred Gauna, Tad Yankoski, Chris Hartley, Andrew Colligan, Mike Blomberg, and Sachs Museum interns Elizabeth Allison, Taylour Whelan, Sarah Peskar, and Justin Rulo-Sabe.

 

 

 

 

 

Past Exhibits

Painting Meadows with Delight (April-December 2018)

The Garden is world-renowned for its herbarium, horticulture, research, library and rare books collection, and it also boasts a wide-ranging historic art and archival collection that is not often seen by the public. Painting Meadows with Delight was a chance to view of some of the important paintings and works on paper amassed by Garden founder Henry Shaw and successive leaders of the Garden. Among the featured artworks were illustrations from historical botanical texts, paintings and prints highlighting the interpretation and symbolism of plants, and watercolors by highly regarded botanical artists documenting plant species around the world.

Hours and Admission

 

The Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum is currently closed to the public due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. 

In the meantime, follow this link to explore Nymphs of the Garden virtually.

Immerse yourself in Arslan's paintings with this guided meditation from the Missouri Botanical Garden's Therapeutic Horticulture team.

Learn more about the research and inspiration behind Nymphs of the Garden from Museum Curator Nezka Pfeifer.

Explore Claude Monet's dual passions for fine arts and horticulture in this article by Bee Tham.

Check back here for more virtual offerings of our current exhibits, and follow the Garden's social media channels for more Sachs Museum content.