"Exquisite Bloom's" record-breaking celebration

 

Records were broken at the May 11 artist's reception for Janny Xiaoqin Huang's just-opened exhibition, "Exquisite Blooms," at the Helen Crocker Russell Library at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

"It was the most sales we've ever had in one night," said Brandy Kuhl, Head Librarian, noting that by the end of the evening event, half of the show's inventory had been purchased by admirers of Huang's botanical and still-life Chinese brush paintings.

 The Helen Crocker Russell Library, packed with admirers of Janny's work

The Helen Crocker Russell Library, packed with admirers of Janny's work

In mid-celebration, Botanical Garden Society Executive Director Sue Ann Schiff addressed the crowd of over 60 filling the first floor of San Francisco's famously comprehensive botanical library, saying, "It is thrilling to see this new and beautiful kind of artwork in the library. I am also delighted that those of you who are new to this space have been introduced to the library and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. I hope you will return often."

Art Exhibits Coordinator Molley Lowry introduced Huang. "Janny's work looks truly wonderful on the library walls," she said. Then as Martha Cheung, one of Janny's most long-term students, translated her words from Mandarin into English, Janny spoke from her heart:


"Dear friends, thank you for coming tonight.

"I have been coming here to the Gardens for over 28 years, ever since arriving from my hometown of Nanjing, China. I really like San Francisco. I like the ocean, I like the sky, I like the people. Especially I like the Park — Golden Gate Park — and the Botanical Garden.

"I'll never forget the Park in the morning, when I see the morning dew on the petals of the magnolias. And when the sun sets I see the Matilija poppies dancing in the wind. In early spring, I see the baby ducks just learning to waddle up from the water at Stow Lake. And in the autumn I see the leaves turning red, day by day. Nature make our lives so beautiful. Nature is my teacher — it has given me so much inspiration for my creations."


Throughout the evening, attendees circulated among the 31 paintings and four large calligraphic panels, admiring them, talking with one other about the works, and flipping through the prints and catalog also for sale at the exhibition.

 Long-time student Earl Speas admires Huang's "Chrysanthemums" (2011)

Long-time student Earl Speas admires Huang's "Chrysanthemums" (2011)

Although Huang's art was the centerpiece of the event, the crowd also enjoyed a lavish spread of baked goods, cookies, fruits, bread, cheeses and other treats, plus flowers and floral arrangements — and, of course, wine and other beverages — all contributed by friends and students of Janny and her husband, Joseph Yan, of Joseph & Janny's Art Studio.

The day after the event, Art Exhibits Coordinator Lowry wrote to thank everyone who helped to mount the exhibition and create the reception. "Thanks for all your work on the exhibit and the wonderful reception," she wrote. "Janny's team worked hard but smoothly to put together all the details that go into an exhibit here. At the reception, food, drinks, and feelings were all great."

 Many of Janny Huang and Joseph Yan's current and former students came to celebrate "Exquisite Blooms" (Janny in the center, Joseph on the far left)

Many of Janny Huang and Joseph Yan's current and former students came to celebrate "Exquisite Blooms" (Janny in the center, Joseph on the far left)

Lowry also commented on the record-breaking sales of the May 11 event. "Many things contributed to the strong sales," she said, "but mostly I think it was the warmth and admiration for Janny and her work. And to see it all so beautifully displayed in our lovely library was quite touching to me, and I think for others."

It's clear that Lowry is correct. The Helen Crocker Russell Library is, indeed, lovely. And its current exhibition, "Exquisite Blooms," is lovely. And the May 11 event and its record-breaking success was a lovely tribute to Janny Xiaoqin Yan, Joseph Yan, and Joseph & Janny's Art Studio.