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"Personal Edens: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch"
2002-01-16 until 2002-03-10
Charles Allis Art Museum
Milwaukee, , USA United States of America

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum presents the touring exhibition Personal Edens: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch, and complementary exhibition David O. Selznick's Gone with the Wind: Film Memorabilia from the Collection of Dale E. Kuntz. Among America‚s foremost landscape architects, Florence Yoch designed for residences, courtyards, social clubs and film sets from Mexico to California, including Gone with the Wind.

From 1918 to 1971 she adapted traditional landscape designs to American needs, creating some of the West‚s most beloved gardens. Modern California gardens have fully incorporated her fundamental design principles of comfort, efficiency, and economy, which continuously molds contemporary American trends. Celebrating Scandinavian Heritage as part of the International Arts Festival, the exhibitions open with a public reception on Wednesday, January 16, 2002, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. and continue through March 10th.

Three talks will be presented in conjunction with the exhibitions. Explore the legendary classic film Gone with the Wind through the Gallery Talk & Tour with Dale E. Kuntz on Wednesday, January 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, February 24 at 2 p.m. Kuntz will lead an insightful tour of his exhibition David O. Selznick's Gone with the Wind: Film Memorabilia from the Collection of Dale E. Kuntz, as well as highlight the partner exhibit of Florence Yoch‚s design legacy. Admission is $5 Adults, $3 Students and Friends of Villa Terrace Members. Eric McDonald will follow with 20th c. American Landscape Design on Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m., the first lecture in the series A World of Gardens 2002. Admission is $8 General or $25 for A World of Gardens series.

Florence Yoch (1890 - 1972) was one of the most original and versatile 20th century American landscape architects with a 53-year career accomplishing over 250 projects. Yoch designed gardens for private residences, public courtyards, and social clubs from Coyoacan, Mexico, to Carmel, California, as well as for five Hollywood film sets. Her highly recognized landscape designs, Tara in Gone With the Wind and the Capulet Garden in Romeo and Juliet, are among her projects for Hollywood clientele including producers Jack Warner and David O. Selznick and director George Cukor. Her designs suited the literary-based films she worked on, which rejected flamboyant individualism and emphasized the redemptive power of a well-organized domestic world. A passionate traveler, she journeyed to Africa to research The Garden of Allah (1936), visited Georgia for Gone with the Wind (1939), reshaped San Fernando Valley slopes into rice fields for The Good Earth (1937), and made 10,000 daffodils bloom for the hero‚s recovery in How Green Was My Valley (1941).

Yoch primarily executed her designs between 1925 and 1940 under her flourishing firm, Yoch and Council, a partnership with her lifetime companion, Lucile Council. They worked with the period‚s finest architects, including Roland Coate, Myron Hunt, Reginald Johnson, Wallace Neff, and Gordon Kaufman. Successful Los Angeles women sought Yoch for key commissions, from the Women's Athletic Club rooftop gardens to the Greek temple garden for Dorothy Arzner, who introduced Yoch to the movie industry.

Yoch annually visited and studied great European gardens, skillfully adapting formal gardens to the Southern California climate, vegetation, and lifestyle, saying, Let traffic carry the bonework. Countering numerous California myths, she gravitated toward allegorical temperance, juxtaposing the natural and wild against artificial and disciplined, stating, Genuinely informal planting is not natural in our climate. Her distinctive and inclusive work united friends and clients from varying geographical and social backgrounds, even integrating patios and peasant‚s kitchen gardens into plans for wealthy clients, and by the 1920s and 1930s was among the few landscape architects working in Pasadena and West Los Angeles. Yoch simplified her designs for unskilled workers after the 1929 stock market crash and World War II. In 1961 she said, do not work against local conditions and spoil the genuine desert-country-ranch look. Focusing on the subtler pleasures of gardening, her enduring designs replaced elementary lawns with fields of barley, alfalfa, and African grass. „The complex harmonies of her personal Edens bridge divisions in city and state and join their owners to larger communities, new cultures, and venerable times. In each landscape, she told many stories to enlarge American dreams,‰ said the Personal Edens exhibition curators.

Personal Edens: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch will include 77 watercolors, photographs, drawings, and ephemera, including Florence Yoch's watering can. This is the first traveling exhibition organized by the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, and was curated by Eric T. Haskell of Scripps College, and James J. Yoch of the University of Oklahoma, Florence Yoch's grandnephew and author of Landscaping the American Dream: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch: 1890-1972.

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