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Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History
A Passion for Plants

A Passion for Plants:
Contemporary Art from the Shirley Sherwood Collection

Magnolia grandiflora
Paul Jones
Born Sydney, Australia, 1921-97
Acrylic on paper


With their heady profusion of shapes, sizes, and colors, plants have ignited the passion of artists and scientists alike.

These 100 masterworks by the finest 20th-century botanical artists take you on a stroll through 500 million years of plant evolution.

This rare look at the beauty and diversity of plants pairs these masterworks with the vast scientific resources of the National Museum of Natural History.

Come see what's in bloom!


"Botanical art has entered a new golden age, a renaissance,” John Kress, chair of the Botany Section at the Museum. “Shirley Sherwood’s collection of botanical art has significantly raised the profile of botanical illustration as both an art form and an appreciation of nature. We are proud to exhibit such an important collection.”

“A Passion for Plants: Contemporary Art from the Shirley Sherwood Collection” will be on view through Sept. 2.


  Nepenthes truncata
  Nepenthes truncata
Mariko Imai
Born Kanagawa, Japan, 1942
Watercolor on paper
The exhibition was made possible through the support of Clairol Herbal Essences. Additional funding was provided by The National Garden Bureau Member Companies.

To see living examples of some of the plants featured in this exhibit, visit our Botanical Partner on the Mall -- the United States Botanic Garden. For more information see www.USBG.gov.

To learn more about botany at the Smithsonian, visit naturalhistory.si.edu/botany/.