Roberto Burle Marx: The Art of Landscape

With Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx, the New York Botanical Garden pays a tribute to the great Brazilian landscape architect

Roberto Burle Marx

The New York Botanical Garden presents Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx, an exhibition dedicated to the great Brazilian landscape architect, displaying a large collection of drawings, paintings and fabrics as well as a recreation of some of his renowned gardens.

New York Botanical Garden, Modernist Garden Path

Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) was one of the most important South American landscape architects of the second half of the 20th century. Throughout his career, he designed many lush gardens, among which the famous promenade of Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. The passion for tropical nature shines through his works, with which he created artworks/gardens for private residences and public works.

The promenade of Copacabana, famous work by Roberto Burle Marx, 1970. Ph: Allan Fraga, Creative Commons

Burle Marx’s gardens by at the Conservatory

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory hosts the recreations of gardens with tropical plants, some native of Brazil, reinterpreting the original landscapes created by the Brazilian artist. Water walls, green walls and many elements typical of modernist works were designed by architect Raymond Jungles, a disciple of Burle.

New York Botanical Garden, Modernist Garden, foto courtesy New York Botanical Garden

Curvilinear paths that cross watercourses and flowerbeds of various shapes with different plants lead to a large outdoor space hosting a swimming pool surrounded by carved walls. Flowerbeds and gardens are inspired by Burle Marx’s works such as the park of Edmundo Cavanellas’ house in Petrópolis, the roof garden of the Ministry of Education and Health and the promenade of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, and Parco del Este in Caracas.

New York Botanical Garden, Explorers Garden

Roberto Burle Marx’s art in the Library and in the Art Gallery

The Library hosts an exhibition of drawings, paintings, fabrics, wallpapers, litographies that help us understand how art inspired the landscape architect’s projects for his gardens. This section of the exhibition curated by Edward J. Sullivan (New York University) is focused on Burle Marx’s scientific research, combining abstract geometries and biomorphic forms, besides exploring native species and working to protect them.

New York Botanical Garden, Modernist Garden, foto courtesy New York Botanical Garden

In the Library Building’s Britton Rotunda the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx has been recreated. This house hosted also his workshop, gardens, greenhouses, an atelier: there the artist worked and received friends including important figures for Brazilian culture such as architects Lúcio Costa, Rino Levi and Oscar Niemeyer, botanist Henrique Lahmeyer de Mello Barreto, botanical artist Margaret Mee, landscape architects Conrad Hamerman, Raymond Jungles and Haruyoshi Ono.

Sìtio Roberto Burle Marx

Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx runs until September 29th, 2019 at the New York Botanical Garden. [Roberta Mutti]

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