Notes on the Hidden Meanings of the Louvre’s Flowers
Published by Actes Sud. Text by Jean-Michel Othoniel.
An intimate herbarium of flowers in the collection of the Louvre
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Louvre pyramid, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel was invited to create a work about the presence of flowers in the museum's eight art departments. Visiting the Louvre’s collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, embroidery and enamel, the artist photographed the flowers that appeared there. Using these images, Othoniel composed his own original herbarium, accompanied with notes on the secret language of flowers and their symbolism in the history of art. Among the 70 flowers Othoniel compiled in this volume, you will find the thistle in Dürer's self-portrait, the poppy in the Paros funerary stele, the apple sitting on a stool in The Lock by Fragonard and the peony attached to the unfastened blouse of the young woman in Greuze's Broken Pitcher. Also included are lesser-known details in lesser-known works—concealed treasures, hiding in plain sight at the museum. Following a similar format to Othoniel’s previous book about flowers, this volume intersperses photographs and drawings with short texts in a luxurious, eminently giftable book. Once an attendant at the Louvre while studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Othoniel returns to his artistic roots in this volume to offer a personal, poetic look at the artistic wonders of the greatest museum in the world. From drawing to sculpture, installation to photography, writing to performance, for more than 25 years, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel (born 1964) has made poetic works in a range of materials such as sulfur, wax and glass.
Published by Actes Sud. Text by Johannes Nilo, Lawrence Rinder.
This volume presents the obsidian sculptures of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel (born 1964). Othoniel first discovered the volcanic glass in the early 1990s, and has returned to it in recent years, making huge, angular totems out of obsidian, wood and concrete.
During his 2012 residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel (born 1964) delved into the archives of the magnificent garden that Isabella Stewart Gardner, the first American woman to graduate with a degree in horticulture, cultivated around her residence. Othoniel examined the museum (where nothing has been moved since its owners died) and photographed the flowers in the tapestries, ironwork, architecture, furnishings and paintings, in such masterpieces as van Dyck's "Portrait of a Woman" with its innocuous rose, Piermatteo d'Amelia's "Annunciation" with its majestic lily and Bartolomé Bermejo's "Saint Engracia" with its enigmatic palm. This giftworthy volume presents his art-historical ABC of these flowers, from Acanthus to Zea Mays.
The first monograph in English devoted to Jean-Michel Othoniel, a singular and secretive artist. This volume follows the evolution of Othoniel’s atypical approach as he creates a world inhabited by dreams and enchantment, but also haunted by melancholy.
Catherine Grenier is director of contemporary collections at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris.