The Four Seasons Sculptures at NYBG

Yesterday I came back from a quick family-related trip to the Big Apple. I did manage to squeeze in time to ride the train out to the New York Botanic Garden. Unfortunately, the grounds were still in “winter mode” (except for some nicely blooming hellebores and cyclamen in the newly refurbished Rock Garden). So I visited the Enid Haupt Conservatory to take in the orchid display.

New York Botanical Garden

The entrance to the Enid Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, now featuring a huge display of orchids.

They were gorgeous, and worth a post of their own. But as I was completing my tour of the orchid display, I stumbled onto an amazing set of seasonally-based statues in the courtyard behind the Conservatory. Created by the American artist and filmmaker Philip Haas, the installations are  inspired by the sixteenth-century Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who created “composite portraits” composed of collage-like compositions of fruits, vegetables, and other materials.

The sculptures began as models (which are on display in the Conservatory library) and then were constructed as full-scale works. For more information and a video of their installation, visit the New York Botanical Garden’s website. In the meantime, here are some of the images I took on a cloudy day when I was the only person around to admire these magnificent structures.

"Spring," by Philip Haas, in the Conservatory's rear courtyard.

“Spring,” by Philip Haas, in the Conservatory’s rear courtyard.

"Summer," seen from the front right side.

“Summer,” seen from the front right side.

The other side of "Summer." I think this was my favorite of all of them.

The other side of “Summer.” I think this was my favorite of all of them.

"Fall" is encased in a wine press! (I think)

“Fall” is encased in a wine press! (I think)

"Winter," starkest of all.

“Winter,” starkest of all.


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2 Comments on “The Four Seasons Sculptures at NYBG”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Ah, so they are still up — I saw them last fall! They are quite something, I especially like “Winter” and the use of the fungus. I think there was an exhibit of Arcimboldo’s paintings here in D.C., which I missed, so I was pleased to get to see these figures inspired by his work.

    I guess the new native plant garden was not doing much; did you walk through anyway? Can’t miss that huge water feature…..

    • Melissa Says:

      Yes, I walked through the native plant garden but it was really bare at this point. Some birches and brightly colored red twig and yellow twig dogwoods at the end of it served as a barrier of sorts between it and the rock garden, which I also visited and saw more signs of life.

      Not sure how long the Haas sculptures will be there – the website says they were supposed to be up from last May through the end of this March so maybe they will come down soon 😦

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