Published: September 17, 2002
PITTSBURGH, PENN. – The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation will present “Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden: ” through February 28.
The exhibition, celebrating the artist’s 95th birthday, presents an overview of Dowden’s career as it progressed from textiles to botanical art and illustration. It includes finished watercolors, layouts and research paintings, along with books and magazines in which her paintings have been reproduced.
Upon graduating from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Dowden continued to study at the Art Students League and Beaux Arts Institute of Design, where she and four other students were successful at designing wallpapers and drapery fabrics. After teaching at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, she developed the art department at Manhattanville College and began preparing paintings of edible wild plants for publication.
With the publication of these artworks in Life magazine, Dowden’s career developed toward botanical illustration. She completed illustration projects for House Beautiful and Natural History and then began writing, designing and illustrating her own books.
Flower pollination always has fascinated the artist and several of her books deal with this subject — Look at a Flower (1963), The Secret Life of the Flowers (1964), From Flower to Fruit (1984) and The Clover and the Bee (1990). Other themes in her books, published from the early 1960s until 1994, include roses, city weeds, flowers of trees, state flowers, Shakespeare’s flowers, plants of the Bible and of Christmas and poisonous plants.
The exhibition will be on display on the fifth floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University at 5000 Forbes Avenue. For information, 412-268-2434 or huntbot.andrew.cmu.edu.
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