Greenhouse

Nineteenth-century paintings curator Rebecca Rabinow finds a way to get a taste of the outdoors inside the galleries.

Loading

Right now I have a crush on a sixteenth-century Italian painting that has a gigantic laurel tree.

Play again
Connections Home

URL
Share
Sign Up

New Connections appear every Wednesday. Sign up for a reminder.

Captions On
/
  • Rebecca Rabinow
    1280852
  • A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?)  |  1865  |  Edgar Degas (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.128)
    12661024
  • Lilacs in a Window (Vase de Lilas à la Fenêtre)  |  1880–83  |  Mary Cassatt (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Partial and Promised Gift of Susan and Douglas Dillon, 1997 (1997.207)
    8491024
  • Outer robe (uchikake) with theme of Mount Hôrai  |  Edo period, second half of 18th–first half of 19th century  |  Japan  |  Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin damask with stencil-dyed details  |  Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jonas M. Goldstone, 1970 (1970.296.1)
    7811024
  • Bamboo in the Four Seasons, Muromachi period (1392–1573)  |  Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (Japanese)  |  Pair of six-panel folding screens; color, ink, and gold on paper  |  The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.44, 45)
    1280599
  • Irises  |  1890  |  Vincent van Gogh (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Adele R. Levy, 1958 (58.187)
    1024813
  • The Terrace at Vernonnet  |  1939  |  Pierre Bonnard (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Florence J. Gould, 1968 (68.1)  |  © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    1024776
  • The Terrace at Vernonnet  |  1939  |  Pierre Bonnard (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Florence J. Gould, 1968 (68.1)  |  © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    5501002
  • Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson  |  1923 and 1937  |  Édouard Vuillard (French)  |  Distemper on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952 (52.183)
    7491024
  • Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson  |  1923 and 1937  |  Édouard Vuillard (French)  |  Distemper on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952 (52.183)
    1024657
  • Madonna and Child with Saints, altarpiece  |  ca. 1520  |  Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Veronese)  |  Tempera and oil on canvas  |  Fletcher Fund, 1920 (20.92)
    5571024
  • Madonna and Child with Saints, altarpiece  |  ca. 1520  |  Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Veronese)  |  Tempera and oil on canvas  |  Fletcher Fund, 1920 (20.92)
    10771024
  • The Repast of the Lion  |  ca. 1907  |  Henri Rousseau (le Douanier) (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.5)
    1280899
  • The Repast of the Lion  |  ca. 1907  |  Henri Rousseau (le Douanier) (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.5)
    1280845
  • Black Iris  |  1926  |  Georgia O'Keeffe (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1969 (69.278.1)
    8491024
  • Floral collar from Tutankhamun's embalming cache  |  New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 b.c.  |  Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, embalming cache of Tutankhamun (Tomb KV 54), Valley of the Kings, Davis/Ayrton 1907  |  Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, nightshade berries, faience, linen  |  Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909 (09.184.214)
    10571024
  • The Cloisters Museum and Gardens  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1280853
  • The Unicorn in Captivity  |  ca. 1495–1505  |  South Netherlandish  |  Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts  |  Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
    7181024
  • The Unicorn in Captivity  |  ca. 1495–1505  |  South Netherlandish  |  Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts  |  Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
    1024665
  • Rebecca Rabinow
    1280852
  • My name is Rebecca Rabinow, I'm a curator of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European paintings here at the Metropolitan Museum.

  • I think flowers and foliage are timeless and have interested people from every generation and every culture.

  • In college, I spent a lot of time in the greenhouse, sometimes I would even do my work there.

  • And here at The Met I see qualities of this building that

  • remind me of the greenhouse that I love so much back in school.

  • In the nineteenth-century galleries there's one room that I think of as our greenhouse. It's full of fantastic pictures

  • by Bonnard and Vuillard who are two of the great colorists of the first half of the twentieth-century. And there's a picture by Bonnard that shows the view from the back of his country house. And the colors just emanate from it in a fog, the blues and the purples and the melon colors.

  • And it takes awhile before I even can register the composition or see the boaters on the river out in the distance.

  • A painting by Vuillard, I think most people who look at it first see there's a standing figure on the right in a rose-colored dressing gown.

  • But almost everyone misses the kneeling figure on the left, and that was one of Vuillard's great loves, Lucy Hessle, and this is a picture of her country house.

  • There are some paintings that just capture my attention when I walk by. Right now I have a crush on a sixteenth-century Italian painting that has a gigantic laurel tree. It's a huge picture and this laurel tree dominates the entire gallery.

  • And I don't even look at any of the religious imagery at all. There's something about the tree. It just resets my equilibrium for the day, I feel like I've been outside.

  • Flora isn't always something that's beautiful and nice and friendly. There's no better instance than my own pet, which is a Venus flytrap.

  • And seeing that thing close in on a spider, it's just really distressing. And I think in a painting like Rousseau's picture The Repast of the Lion, he really captures that violence that nature can present and this jungle vegetation is so menacing.

  • Or the sexuality that so many people see in flowers. Georgia O'Keeffe painted her Black Iris in 1926 and since it was exhibited, critics have likened it to female genitalia. She always denied that that was her intent, but the fact that people see it that way is a valid thing.

  • This is a design that has inspired people for many, many reasons throughout time.

  • And of course you can't talk about foliage without talking about The Cloisters. I always try to arrange a family field trip every spring so I can go out in the gardens which are just breathtaking, as is the view across the Hudson River. And when the pollen gets too much for my family, we retreat inside

  • and I just lose myself in The Unicorn Tapestries.

  • Every year I think I find the exact same number of flowers that I can identify, but just when I turn around to inform my family of what I've found, they've always wandered off in search of some gory reliquary. And that's the thing about the Met, it's a great museum because there's something here for everyone.

  • 29.100.128
    A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?), 1865, Edgar Degas (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.128)
  • 1997.207
    Lilacs in a Window (Vase de Lilas à la Fenêtre), 1880–83, Mary Cassatt (American), Oil on canvas Partial and Promised Gift of Susan and Douglas Dillon, 1997 (1997.207)
  • 1970.296.1
    Outer robe (uchikake) with theme of Mount Hôrai, Edo period, second half of 18th–first half of 19th century, Japan, Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin damask with stencil-dyed details Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jonas M. Goldstone, 1970 (1970.296.1)
  • 1975.268.44,45
    Bamboo in the Four Seasons, Muromachi period (1392–1573), Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (Japanese), Pair of six-panel folding screens; color, ink, and gold on paper The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.44, 45)
  • 58.187
    Irises, 1890, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch), Oil on canvas Gift of Adele R. Levy, 1958 (58.187)
  • 68.1
    The Terrace at Vernonnet, 1939, Pierre Bonnard (French), Oil on canvas Gift of Florence J. Gould, 1968 (68.1) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • 52.183
    Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson, 1923 and 1937, Édouard Vuillard (French), Distemper on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952 (52.183)
  • 20.92
    Madonna and Child with Saints, altarpiece, ca. 1520, Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Veronese), Tempera and oil on canvas Fletcher Fund, 1920 (20.92)
  • 51.112.5
    The Repast of the Lion, ca. 1907, Henri Rousseau (le Douanier) (French), Oil on canvas Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.5)
  • 69.278.1
    Black Iris, 1926, Georgia O'Keeffe (American), Oil on canvas Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1969 (69.278.1)
  • 09.184.214-.216
    Floral collar from Tutankhamun's embalming cache, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 b.c., Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, embalming cache of Tutankhamun (Tomb KV 54), Valley of the Kings, Davis/Ayrton 1907, Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, nightshade berries, faience, linen Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909 (09.184.214)
  • 37.80.6
    The Unicorn in Captivity, ca. 1495–1505, South Netherlandish, Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
  • A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?), 1865, Edgar Degas (French), Oil on canvas H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.128)
    Lilacs in a Window (Vase de Lilas à la Fenêtre), 1880–83, Mary Cassatt (American), Oil on canvas Partial and Promised Gift of Susan and Douglas Dillon, 1997 (1997.207)
    Outer robe (uchikake) with theme of Mount Hôrai, Edo period, second half of 18th–first half of 19th century, Japan, Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin damask with stencil-dyed details Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jonas M. Goldstone, 1970 (1970.296.1)
    Bamboo in the Four Seasons, Muromachi period (1392–1573), Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (Japanese), Pair of six-panel folding screens; color, ink, and gold on paper The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.44, 45)
    Irises, 1890, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch), Oil on canvas Gift of Adele R. Levy, 1958 (58.187)
    The Terrace at Vernonnet, 1939, Pierre Bonnard (French), Oil on canvas Gift of Florence J. Gould, 1968 (68.1) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson, 1923 and 1937, Édouard Vuillard (French), Distemper on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952 (52.183)
    Madonna and Child with Saints, altarpiece, ca. 1520, Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Veronese), Tempera and oil on canvas Fletcher Fund, 1920 (20.92)
    The Repast of the Lion, ca. 1907, Henri Rousseau (le Douanier) (French), Oil on canvas Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.5)
    Black Iris, 1926, Georgia O'Keeffe (American), Oil on canvas Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1969 (69.278.1)
    Floral collar from Tutankhamun's embalming cache, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 b.c., Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, embalming cache of Tutankhamun (Tomb KV 54), Valley of the Kings, Davis/Ayrton 1907, Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, nightshade berries, faience, linen Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909 (09.184.214)
    The Unicorn in Captivity, ca. 1495–1505, South Netherlandish, Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?)
    1865
    Edgar Degas (French)
    Oil on canvas
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.128)
    On view: Gallery 810
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Lilacs in a Window (Vase de Lilas à la Fenêtre)
    1880–83
    Mary Cassatt (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Partial and Promised Gift of Susan and Douglas Dillon, 1997 (1997.207)
    On view: Gallery 769
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Outer robe (uchikake) with theme of Mount Hôrai
    Edo period, second half of 18th–first half of 19th century
    Japan
    Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk satin damask with stencil-dyed details
    Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jonas M. Goldstone, 1970 (1970.296.1)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Bamboo in the Four Seasons, Muromachi period (1392–1573)
    Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu (Japanese)
    Pair of six-panel folding screens; color, ink, and gold on paper
    The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.44, 45)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Irises
    1890
    Vincent van Gogh (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Adele R. Levy, 1958 (58.187)
    On view: Gallery 826
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    The Terrace at Vernonnet
    1939
    Pierre Bonnard (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Florence J. Gould, 1968 (68.1)
    © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    On view: Gallery 828
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson
    1923 and 1937
    Édouard Vuillard (French)
    Distemper on canvas
    Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952 (52.183)
    On view: Gallery 828
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Madonna and Child with Saints, altarpiece
    ca. 1520
    Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Veronese)
    Tempera and oil on canvas
    Fletcher Fund, 1920 (20.92)
    On view: Gallery 961
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    The Repast of the Lion
    ca. 1907
    Henri Rousseau (le Douanier) (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.5)
    On view: Gallery 826
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Black Iris
    1926
    Georgia O'Keeffe (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1969 (69.278.1)
    On view: Gallery 910
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Floral collar from Tutankhamun's embalming cache
    New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1336–1327 b.c.
    Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, embalming cache of Tutankhamun (Tomb KV 54), Valley of the Kings, Davis/Ayrton 1907
    Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, nightshade berries, faience, linen
    Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909 (09.184.214)
    Not on view
    Egyptian ArtFirst Floor
    The Unicorn in Captivity
    ca. 1495–1505
    South Netherlandish
    Wool warp, wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts
    Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)
    On view at The Cloisers: Gallery 001

    Medieval Art and The Cloisters
    The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art