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Helen Hornberger  Search this
Copper, oil paint
Overall: 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Stem: 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Flower: 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Artificial flowers and trees
United States
Artist, Helen Hornberger, revived the techniques of French tole to create naturalistic representations of the state flowers. The artist used thin copper sheets as her base, and painted them with oil paint in the natural colors of the blossoms and leaves of the Magnolia Blossom (Magnolia grandiflora). Three rows of large, creamy-white petals encircle the brown and green stamen. The blossom exudes from a rough, brown branch topped by three dark-green leaves. The bottommost leaf is signed by the artist.
Label Text:
The Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago proposed that each U.S. state and territory select a flower to represent their state in the “National Garland of Flowers.” This resulted in the National Floral Emblem Society. Each state has adopted to represent the state and its people based on their importance to the state’s history, economy, folklore, or native varieties. Tole artist Helen Hornberger created each artificial flower representing each state to create for a bouquet displaying America’s floral diversity.
LOUISIANA: The Magnolia Blossom (Magnolia foetida or Magnolia grandiflora) was designated the official state flower of Louisiana in 1900. Since it was chosen, the people of Louisiana have continued to pay homage to their state flower by naming streets, schools, and places throughout the state after it. These blooms are found on the evergreen Magnolia Tree. This hardwood grows abundantly in the southeastern United States and is a popular ornamental around the world. Magnolia Blossoms are at once extravagant and elegant. They are made up of enormous waxy petals, ranging from cream to pink, and create a stark contrast the tree’s shiny, green leaves. The Magnolia buds begin to appear in late-March and are at full bloom by mid-April. They reach impressive sizes, up to 15 inches across. They are also known for their heady fragrance, which is sold as a perfume. Magnolia Blossoms are relatively short lived, and may only be pristine for several days. When autumn comes, the Magnolia tree replaces its beautiful flowers with attractive red seed pods, which are eaten by the native wildlife. Louisiana also has a state wildflower. The Louisiana iris (Iris giganticaerulea) was designated the official state wildflower in 1990.
MISSISSIPPI: The Magnolia Blossom (Magnolia grandiflora) was designated the official state flower of Mississippi in 1952. The magnolia was chosen by the school children of the state in 1900, however the state’s legislature did not officially sanction the magnolia until 1952. Mississippi is nicknamed “The Magnolia State” and the Magnolia Blossom is featured on the state quarter. Magnolia trees have been preserved at many of the state’s historic sites, filling the air with their unmistakable, sweet scent. In Mississippi, the Magnolia buds appear in late March and early April and are in full bloom by mid-spring. Mississippi also has a state wildflower. The Coreopsis, commonly called Tickseed, was designated the official state wildflower in 1991.
Hornberger on the surface of the lowest leaf
copper  Search this
tôle  Search this
Artificial flowers  Search this
crafts  Search this
emblems (symbols)  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Louisiana  Search this
Mississippi  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Helen Hornberger.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens