Tulips are in Bloom

Tulips are in Bloom  is a selection of 72 works from the Norton Simon Museum's seventeenth-century "Tulip Book." The tulips are enhanced by examples of seventeenth-century floral still-life paintings from the Museum's permanent collection. Today, tulips are recognized as being synonymous with Holland. Dutch interest in tulips developed rapidly in the seventeenth-century, yet unlike gardening today, one had to be quite wealthy to cultivate an ornamental garden; exotic flowers such as tulips were a costly and presitgious collector's item. Bulb merchants, in order to increase sales and awareness of their product, commissioned artists to create albums of watercolors depicting the various bulbs available. The tulips displayed in the exhibition were organized in one of these bound books, and must have belonged to a wealthy tulip merchant whose identity still awaits discovery.