We recently visited a show of John Singer Sargent’s water colors at the Brooklyn Museum. The predominant impression I brought away from that large exhibition was of the significance of light and shade in creating an atmosphere with the emotional power to move a viewer.
Seeing the Sargent watercolors was a reminder of the light.
Late yesterday I walked the garden at nightfall. The atmosphere was so redolent of memory and emotion I won’t attempt to describe it. I think these photos, taken between 7:47 and 8:11 pm, do that. The air was cool, the sky clear. A bird I didn’t recognize occasionally sqawked its harsh, angry call of warning from somewhere in the tangled undergrowth.
Patterns of use, or nonuse, are beginning to clarify the nature of the Brooklyn garden. I was reminded of that yesterday when we made our first visit to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the new building on Benjamin Franklin Parkway where Albert Barnes’ extraordinary art collection is now on display. In the lower lobby, and extending up through two levels to the roof opening, is a striking glass-enclosed garden planted with ferns and several tall Ginkgos and Sweet Gums rising through the building. Most definitely a garden to be looked at. There’s no way to enter it.