08 April 2010

a gardener's portrait Horst

Horst P. Horst- how must the world have looked to him? Ivan Terestchenko-what does he see that I always miss?
Surely great photographers are given extra sight sensors. I often look at their images and wonder. In a collection of Horst photographs of his own garden at Oyster Bay Cove, Long Island (House and Garden 1969 Dec.) &  the book The Garden Room* with Ivan's own photographs of the Horst garden- we get to glimpse of the photographers' work. What did they see?

Horst by Horst and Horst by Terestchenko at Oyster Bay

Still Life with Flowers and Bocklin
 by Horst-c.1959 Oyster Bay
Ivan included this Horst photograph in his Horst profile

Horst made this pergola a part of his summer living space- just off of his study. The latticing has been sawn away at points to create a Chinese Chippendale pattern. How fabulous is that! Other details in the room-a slash of red curtain, a red lacquer table and the simple still life on the table show Horst style as utterly timeless.

Horst 1969

Ivan's photograph of the same room reveals some changes but the same casual perfection is in residence 25 years later. Visible in both photographs: the low plaster seating that is a part of the pavilion's structure. The repetition of solid colour cushions in bright orange and yellow are in principle acting as the red and orange does in Horst's own photograph of the room- a punctuation to nature.

Ivan's photograph

Horst's photograph of British artists Gilbert and George
planted on a low seat like the one above
Oyster Bay, c.1976

Ivan and Horst  chatting in the Garden living room at Oyster Bay

Ivan's portrait of Horst
In an interview with Ivan  he said- I met him in his home in Oyster Bay. Wouldn't dare to photograph him, so I sketched him instead.

one of Horst's Oyster Bay photographs
VOGUE fashion shoot c.1950

Horst's Oyster Bay in 1969, By this time Horst had been cultivating the grounds for 20 years. The simple white house- Horst's own design, is based on a Tunisian one and is enveloped by  green. The grounds were once a part of a park on the Louis Comfort Tiffany estate.

Dachshunds obviously filled both photographers' lens. Horst photo above
and  Ivan's watercolour homage to Horst and his dachshund Maxie.

Ivan's drawing of the property

One of my favourite of Ivan's photographs is below-
Two marble chairs, made for Napoleon's Venetian palazzo by a stream
(both depicted in the drawing)

A classical Horst Still Life
composed at Oyster Bay, c.1989

Ivan's photograph of a lushly planted stream (above) 
Horst's photograph below

From  the 1969 House and Garden article: 'The woods produces an annual succession of wild flowers: yellow marsh marigold and scarlet cardinal flower, white boneset and pink joe-pye weed, rose mallow and iris, mauve pickerel weed, orange Turk's-cap and day lily, basard pennyroyal, meadow rue. Horst welcomes whatever grows, '
'As one gets older, there are fewer and fewer plants one doesn't like.'

Horst photograph
One of Five radiating allees- the Center allee
lined with yews and hemlocks

When Timothy Mawson author of  The Garden Room interviewed Horst he asked:
What he considered the greatest luxury in life?- Horst replied :

(One might add-)
& an eye for beauty.


*The Garden Room by Tim Mawson.
Read the little augury interview with Ivan here
add'l Horst photographs from HORST, Sixty Years of Photography- Kazmaier


  1. Pure genius! Love your profile!

    Art by Karena

  2. You beat me to it! I was going to post about the house in Oyster Bay! Argh! I had a lovely luncheon there once with Horst and Mr Lawford and mutual friends. Utterly awed, I was, utterly awed. Would you mind if I posted about the house itself and its interiors? I mean, if you aren't?

  3. Aesthete, please and thank you.My initial intro to the garden was thru Ivan's book, I happened to have the HG with the Horst images so wanted to put them together.I would love to see inside and know nothing about the it. Look forward to hearing about your visit. How lucky you are! Can not wait. It will only enrich my post,if you want to link me that would be deve?(I am reading Nancy Mitford by Harold Acton and there is lots of deve!couldn't resist)pgt

  4. A wonderful, wonderful post - the essence of good blogging here. And now Aesthete's to look forward to. A good day.

  5. Oh delightful! I just read a fantastic biography of Horst with several of his works - such a fascinating, talented man. Always glad to see more of him.

  6. Absolutely terrific post.

    Such incredible style. And why is the world so unfair that more of us don't get to see things as these two do?

    Again, loved the post---you put together the elements wonderfully.

    And can't wait for whichever of you, Aesthete or Augury do the interiors. Drop dead simple chic. I've got some clippings if anyone desires.

  7. The perfect spring post. Thank you for the insights!

  8. All Horst's photographs, regardless of their subject, seem to exude a sense of wellbeing, of enjoyment. Was this an expression of his personality, or a result of his technique, I wonder?

  9. Oyster Bay - my home town! Alas I did not know him but I do know the area where he was. Lovely. Still peaceful and bucolic, although a bit built up with a few Big Uglies.

  10. I'm certainly not as good as you say and probably not as bad as I think, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Times have changed and Horst belonged to his as I belong to mine. I still have to do the things that will make me be remembered as at my age Horst had his fame behind him. I don't think he really cared nor do I. In the end, a life well lived will do. But Merci Gaye.

  11. But I must add that this post is beautiful and brings back such wonderful memories.
    Thank you again Gaye. You were right, I love it and I'm sure Tim Mawson would have loved it too.

  12. Ivan, what I like about both sets of photographs is the timeless quality that nature imposes. The Horst images are very free, candids as it were. The sketch has a similar freedom to it. The book is out where I can pick it up on a whim-it is a joy to read and see. pgt

  13. I love Ivan's photograph "lushly planted stream" and who can resist Maxie? A lovely post.



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