Art Collections - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Art Collections

Art Collections

Since its earliest days, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has employed artists to capture the essence of the Garden and its living collections.

Historic Images

The Garden’s Historic Image Collection consists of glass plate negatives, lantern slides, film-based negatives, and paper prints created during the first half of the 20th century. These photographs document all aspects of the Garden: the growth and development of the grounds and buildings, horticultural displays, special events, gardening and education programs for adults and children, and scientific research. Photographers include Louis Buhle, the Garden’s staff photographer for a remarkable 53 years, and Elsie May Kittredge, Charles Stuart Gager, Norman Taylor, and Takeo Shiota (designer of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden). The collection comprises original images as well as derivative works including photographs, pages from texts, and postcards.

Historic Image Collection

Maud Purdy Paintings

At the time of the Garden’s establishment, it was common for scientific institutions to employ staff artists to document their collections. Maud Purdy was employed as the Garden’s botanical illustrator for 32 years, from 1913 to 1945. Purdy’s botanical art was greatly appreciated for its beauty and educational value, and even today her vivid floral paintings stand out for their artistry and precision. In 2004, 235 of her paintings, illustrations, and sketches were digitized.

“Drawing from Life” at Google Arts & Culture

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium

Established in 2000, the florilegium documents the Garden’s living collections in watercolor, pen and ink, and other media. Florilegium Society artists and BBG botanists and gardeners collaborate in this perfect marriage of art and science.

Florilegium Artists & Works

Contemporary Photographs & Videos

The Garden maintains a collection of over 20,000 photographs of living collections, horticultural displays, programs, and events, along with short videos depicting collections and significant moments.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Photographs on Flickr


Image, top of page: Maud Purdy