Wildflowers, Goldenrod/Solidago spp. II, 2021

This series of wildflowers was painted by Leanne Shapton as illustrations for the book American Wildflowers: A Literary Field Guide. In her note on the illustrations, Shapton writes:

"When I was approached by the poet Susan Barba and the Oak Spring Garden Foundation to make the illustrations for this book, I leapt, like a lizard. Painting flowers is a habit and a joy—a deep pleasure. What a gift to stare at flowers—these ephemeral miracles of color and synthesis and botany. I figured, early on, that my paintings should refer to pressed specimens rather than studies in the wild. The flowers would sit still for their portraits, and I could look at them for months. This attempt to stop time, to dry and preserve, felt in keeping with the work of the writers Susan has selected for this book. Naming to elevate and intensify life, I think Thomas Mann said. Or, in the case of my assignment, flattening, to keep and to hold. I hope that the readers of this book might pick and press their own flowers between these pages, the pollen and anthocyanins marking the printed colors and words."

Leanne Shapton, b. 1973, is a Canadian author, artist, and publisher based in New York City. Shapton’s Swimming Studies won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and was long listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2012. She is the co-founder, with photographer Jason Fulford, of J&L Books, an internationally-distributed not-for-profit imprint specializing in art and photography books. Her works have appeared in various publications such as The New York Times, Granta, and The New Yorker, and she teaches in the creative writing department at Columbia University School of the Arts. Shapton is the art editor at The New York Review of Books and is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Her latest book is Guestbook, a collection of short stories.

Watercolor on paper

Custom framing recommended in Natural Maple or Natural Walnut with artwork floated on archival mat board. Please see here for framing options and make a note of frame preference when checking out in the Order Comments.