cloth, 238 pp., $65.00
This book serves as an invitation to gaze at 21 intriguing gardens in Provence, France. Home to a wealthy and intellectual society, the region has long attracted artists and writers to enjoy its climate, light, and lifestyle. Art historian Julia Droste-Hennings leads the reader on a tour of gardens that serve as settings for the works of contemporary artists who express themselves in a range of styles. She presents individual artist profiles, discussing each artist's career and relationship with the environment. As she points out, the gardens are "as distinctive as the individual personalities that created them." Some gardens are in a pleasing classical French style and others reflect the hot, arid Mediterranean climate with succulents and tropical trees. Many gardens serve as staging for avant-garde sculptures that may leave the reader confounded. The entrancing color photographs by Mario Ciampi capture the visions of these artists and their unique garden designs.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden