Open Now

In this series, local photographer and Phipps volunteer Paul g. Wiegman highlights the essence of the plants that Vincent van Gogh was inspired to paint.

On display in our Welcome Center to coincide with the Van Gogh in Bloom exhibit is a series of photos by Paul g. Wiegman that help show nature's inspiration on the work of one of history's most celebrated painters. Wiegman has isolated each plant from its environment, its community and ecosystem, and visually captured it as simply as possible. Working in the field and avoiding any disturbance to the plants is critical to his work. Paul uses a process of lighting an individual plant and placing a portable white background to provide a clean backdrop for the plant of interest. He looks for plants along the edges of existing walking/hiking trails so he can get the camera as close to the ground as possible and be at the level of the subject.

Van Gogh was profoundly impacted by the natural beauty of plants and landscapes that surrounded him. He regularly wrote to his family and friends about the seasons and the color combinations of plantlife that inspired him. In an excerpt from a letter to his brother, he wrote:

It is very beautiful here (though it is in the city). In every garden the lilacs and hawthorn and laburnums are in bloom and the chestnut trees are beautiful. If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere. But still I sometimes long for Holland and especially for home. I am very busy gardening and have sown a little garden full of poppies, sweet peas and mignonette…”

About the Artist

As a naturalist and former vice president of science and stewardship for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Paul g. Wiegman has spent his career exploring, learning and educating others about the marvelous natural history of western Pennsylvania. Using photography to share the region’s rich geology, botany and zoology, he hopes to inspire viewers to explore nature for themselves, experience its genius, and share his desire to protect and preserve it.

Photos © Paul g. Wiegman

More Events You’ll Enjoy

  • BioBlitz Family Fun Festival

    Sun., June 2; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Bring the whole family to Phipps for a free, fun festival celebrating science, art and nature! You'll explore the amazing biodiversity right here in our region, participate in real-time science, create unique art and much more.
  • Butterfly Forest

    Open Now

    Watch colorful butterflies break free of their chrysalises to soar and glide among beautiful Phipps blooms. One may even land on you!
  • Tropical Forest Cuba Festival

    Sat., June 15; 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Join us for a celebration of the culture and plants of Cuba! Participate in activities, enjoy live entertainment, and savor regionally-inspired food samples from Café Phipps. This event is free with admission to the conservatory.