Counting Flowers on the Wall

What are the odds that two major, widely acclaimed exhibitions in Los Angeles this year would prominently feature floral wallpaper in the galleries? I would have guessed slim until I saw the spectacular Robert Gober-curated Charles Burchfield show at the Hammer recently. Burchfield, it turns out, was a wallpaper designer in Buffalo, New York from 1921 to 1929, and a reprint of one of his creations covers the walls in the third room. (Check out some very cool installation shots here.)

Sunflowers (design for M. H. Birge & Sons Company wallpaper), 1921. Watercolor and graphite on paper mounted on board, 27 1/2 x 20 in. Burchfield Penney Art Center. Gift of Charles E. Burchfield Foundation, 1975. Image courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

If you experienced our Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures exhibition in January, or if you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may have also recall floral wallpaper figuring prominently in the installation of Gerhard Richter’s installation Volker Bradke. At this rate, I’d say perennial paint favorite Benjamin Moore Super White had better watch its back.

Allison Agsten

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