Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beautiful Blooms at The Milwaukee Art Museum

Regular readers of this blog know that every year I share photos from The Milwaukee Art Museum's "Art in Bloom" show. The show is a chance for floral designers to interpret the museum's art collection through plants. I enjoy sharing what I thought were the most beautiful and creative arrangements. I usually try to find something somewhat spooky to share from the show. None of the flower arrangements could be interpreted in that way this year, but there is a somewhat Gothy object at the end of this post.

Be sure to click on the images to view them larger.  It really makes a difference!

I love orange roses! For some reason, they're always hard to find around Halloween.

This was an interpretation of the icon on the wall.

I just noticed someone peeking over the display when I enlarged this photo. He's in the upper right hand corner. This arrangement had some warm, exotic orchids. To me, this has an autumn theme.

Here is the full display. The designer did a great job matching the colors to the painting and representing many of the animals with a different shape or color.

This arrangement was my second favorite. It's kind of hard to see, but there are arching tree limbs in the painting. Those are mimicked by the arch at the top of the display. This arrangement reminded me of a basket.

Isn't this rose pretty? It's called an O'Hara Rose.

I have no idea which painting this one represented. I was calling it "The Marge Simpson" because that looked like blue hair springing out of the top.

I took this photo mostly for the sculpture. You can see part of the wall behind the floral arrangement. Which painting do think the flowers went with? Maybe the painting of the trees blowing in the wind. The blue flowers look sort of like fluffy trees.

I really liked the bark wrapped vases in this arrangement. There were some interesting twisted twig arches in front of it too.

Looking closely, there were lots of pretty purple flowers in this one. What a beautiful Iris.

This is one of my favorite photos from the show. This arrangement almost became a part of the painting. It looked very exotic with the Bird of Paradise on top.

See the bridge shape in the flowers?

This looks like some kind of sea sponge.

Another mysterious element in this display was the fungus under the roses. I think that's a cotton bonnet on the left. It would help if I could remember which painting this went with. The museum was crowded so I was moving through some of these rooms pretty fast. It's amazing that I managed to take this many photos without people in the frame!

This high display was mimicking the woman's high hairdo. I'm guessing the white flowers at the bottom are her book.

Does anyone know what these delicate little flowers are?

This display was one of the most direct representations of the art. The black parts aren't plants, but big feathers.

Colorful Parrot Tulips.

This was my favorite display at the show. The containers are sprayed gold like the award/trophy the man is holding in the painting. There was so much color in this display and so many different shaped flowers. I found myself taking photo after photo of it!

I really liked the pink loops circling over and through the flowers.

This is another really direct interpretation of the art. Pretty clever! There's even some red-coated wire to represent the red line on the painting.

Such pretty orchids!

Can you spot the peacock feather?

Ranunculuses are my favorite flower. I bought two different kinds of Ranunculus bulbs recently, so this summer I will be growing them for the first time!

These Tie Dye Dendrobium Orchids start off as purple orchids and are dyed blue so you get this kind of gorgeous color combination.

Some wild, striped little roses.

Another cool orchid.

This is an interpretation of the Marc Chagall painting behind it. It's hard to see, but the man in the painting is wearing a bowler hat and there is always a violin somewhere in Chagall's paintings.

Does anyone know what these yellow flowers are? I see these included in the arrangements every year and wonder what they are.

The exotic, light pink flower is called a King Protea.

Isn't this a clever way to interpret an Andy Warhol soup can print? It's like the soup got opened and fell into a bowl on the table - complete with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side.

It looks almost good enough to eat!

So, here's the Gothic object I promised at the beginning of this post. I think this is an antique hanging oil lamp. It was really pretty when the light caught the red glass. As I remember, this lamp was made during the late 1800s. It was hanging in the antique furniture and decorative arts section of the museum.

After a long and freezing winter like the one we experienced this year, it was nice to see some actual flowers. If you'd like to revisit some of the past Art in Bloom shows, here are some links to my previous blog posts:

Flowerbot and the Friendly Greeter - 2013

Spooky Blooms at The Milwaukee Art Museum - 2012


  1. Your pictures are so amazing, I can only imagine how breathtaking those displays are in person! Does it smell heavenly too, Justine?

    I quite like that oil lamp... :)

    1. Insomniac's Attic ~ Thank you! Yeah, the colors of these flowers are even more vibrant in person. It was a challenge to capture the colors with some of the lighting. Many of these displays are really large and bold. Surprisingly, I didn't smell much of anything! I was getting up close to smell the flowers too. Just a few of the roses had a scent, and that was light.

      I thought you might like that oil lamp! I know that is just your style. It was hanging from this long black chain and there was a lot of ornate ironwork where it fastened into the wall. My photo of that part turned out too dark. I imagine that the lamp once hung in a room with very high ceilings. I'd love to see the lamp's original home!

  2. I love this post! The flower arrangements are creative and gorgeous. And I love how the paintings and flower arrangements compliment each other. Thank you for sharing! :0)

    1. Jeanne ~ Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed this post! Yeah, some of the designers are really creative in how they interpret the art - like that last one with the tomato soup and grilled cheese. :) Other arrangements are nearly identical to the painting or sculpture nearby. Then there are a few arrangements that are so out there, they leave me scratching my head! I wasn't sure which painting a few of these went with. Still, they're all pretty and enjoyable in their way!

  3. I can see why you go every year - fabulous! It's interesting to see the interpretation between flowers and art. Flowers are just pretty anyway!

    1. Lisa ~ Yeah! It's a fun tradition. By this point in the year, I'm always in need of seeing some flowers. I'm counting down the days until I can start growing my own plants. It's true - flowers are just pretty no matter what they're interpreting!

  4. Very nice pictures :) I wouldn't mind a whole lot of decorating like that last picture!

  5. Matt ~ Thank you! :) Oh, I know! I'd love to see the original room that lamp was hanging in. I'm sure everything in there was magnificent. I love Victorian decorations!

  6. Beautiful arrangements. You captured them well. The orange roses are my favorite.

    1. Julie ~ Thank you! I love those orange roses too. They're so cheerful. Every year around Halloween I look for some orange roses, but they're hard to find at that time. Somehow I'm always running into them during the rest of the year!

  7. I love your flower photos on Pinterest too. I don't think I have ever seen orange roses, but I'll keep an eye out for them. Cut flowers are inexpensive here in England, compared to where I'm originally from in Atlantic Canada. So you can treat yourself more often to a bouquet. I find myself developing a fascination for the gothic garden ie: dark flowers and plants. I think I can blame Pinterest for that one too! LOL!

    Ali @

    1. Alison ~ Thanks! I have a lot of fun collecting those flower photos on Pinterest and dreaming of someday growing them. My "plants" pin board is sort of for brainstorming. I've been seeing a lot of orange roses in the past few years. I can expect to see them at the grocery store now. They never seem to be available at Halloween, though!

      Oh yeah! Pinterest has lots of Gothic garden inspiration. I'm always seeing exotic plants on there that are new to me. It really is inspiring. Are you planning to grow your own Gothic garden?