Desert Botanical Garden Presents ‘Four Seasons’

The Desert Botanical Garden opened The Four Seasons, a set of four 15-foot fiberglass sculptures by American artist and film-maker Philip Haas, on Oct. 26 in the garden’s Stardust Foundation Plaza. The installation will be on display through April 28, 2013.


Philip has created a group of large-scale sculptures inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s renaissance paintings of the four seasons. The colossal size of Haas’s sculpture accentuates the visual puzzle of natural forms –- flowers, ivy, moss, fungi, vegetables, fruit, trees, bark, branches, twigs – as they are recycled to form four human portraits, each representing an individual season. The result is at once grotesque, earthy and exuberant.


Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s eccentric, yet scientifically accurate, paintings of composite heads in profile were popular in the 16th century and then again in the 20th, when they were rediscovered by the Surrealists. Haas’s 21st–century reinterpretation has brought the paintings into the natural world. The idea of Arcimboldo in three dimensions is intriguing as the paintings are all in profile so the face-on view is something the viewer would never have seen.


The first work, Winter, was made in 2010 and exhibited to great acclaim at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., before travelling in 2011 to the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and the Garden of Versailles. Fabrication of Spring, Summer and Autumn is complete, and all four are on display in the Desert Botanical Garden.



“This season the Garden steps into the world of contemporary art with Haas’ installation,” said Ken Schutz, executive director of the Desert Botanical Garden. “Visitors will be greeted by four monumental and whimsical interpretations of Arcimboldo’s paintings that I’m sure will be studied, photographed and enjoyed by everyone who sees them.”


After Desert Botanical Garden, all four works will be on a two-year tour of U.S. botanical gardens and museums, including The New York Botanical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden.


Submitted by the Desert Botanical Garden

Photos courtesy the Desert Botanical Garden

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