Tuesday, May 20, 2008


For a short time each spring, the wisteria that climb a wall on one side of the National Gallery burst into bloom. Delicate blossoms of lavender and mauve dangle in the midst of a top-heavy boa of green leaves. It is a sight portrayed often in Japanese art, which, in turn influenced the artists and designers of the Art Nouveau period. With its curling tendrils and elongated flowers, I think of wisteria as an iconic Art nouveau plant. The 1890's are often referred to as the Mauve Decade, because mauve was the first chemically-produced aniline dye available to the public. How right it is that wisteria are dressed in this color.
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