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Le Jardin C

Henry J. Simonds, Pittsburgh, PA
March 17, 2010
Ed. of 5 — 22½” x 30”x 1”
Piezo print on archival polymer paper on aluminum
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on back of mount


When the grounds at the Hotêl Biron were originally planted in the 1730’s, they were done so in the French formal style.  Organized on the principle of imposing order over nature, the gardens were laid out in a southerly path from the house with symmetrical allées and colonnades of trees, with parterres and hedgerows patterned in embroidery motifs.  Over the years, though, the landscape changed dramatically as the property was transferred through ownership.  When the home celebrated its sestercentennial, there was little evidence left of the garden’s original design but for the rose bushes to the north and rows of these mature linden trees planted along the property’s edge.  In 1993, a full renovation of the grounds was completed.  Although there was much debate about whether the new garden should be done in the original formal manner or planted to emulate the wildly overgrown park of Rodin’s time, Jacques Sgard’s proposal for a naturalist approach was ultimately chosen.  He re-imagined the grounds as a landscape of meandering paths and bubbling springs, bursting with flowers, bushes, and trees of all types.  By integrating the remaining formal elements into his design, he was able to achieve an elegant balance of untamed wildness and formal clarity. 
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