The wildflowers of Mary Vaux Walcott.

The Audubon of Botany

American artist and naturalist Mary Vaux Walcott (1860–1940) developed a passion for the natural world on summer trips to the Canadian Rockies, where she hunted for rare specimens of wildflowers, including orchids.

During her lifetime, Walcott painted hundreds of watercolor studies of native flowers, including many orchids. Today, her paintings are in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

La Audubon de la botánica

La artista y naturalista estadounidense Mary Vaux Walcott (1860–1940) desarrolló su pasión por el mundo natural en viajes de verano a las montañas Rocosas canadienses, donde buscaba especímenes raros de orquídeas y otras flores silvestres.

A lo largo de su vida, Walcott pintó cientos de estudios de flores nativas en acuarela, entre ellas numerosas orquídeas. Hoy sus pinturas figuran en la colección del Museo Smithsonian de Arte Americano.

Mary Vaux Walcott
Mary Vaux Walcott holding wildflowers in the Canadian Rockies, ca. 1920s.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image # 2004-22992
Mary Walcott and Charles Doolittle Walcott
Walcott was married to Charles Doolittle Walcott, a paleontologist who served as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1907 to 1927.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image # SIA2014-00556

North American Wildflowers

Between 1925 and 1929, the Smithsonian Institution published 400 of Walcott’s illustrations in a five-volume edition titled North American Wildflowers. The bookestablished a new printing technique known as the Smithsonian Process, which was said to have produced the “most faithful colorreproduction” of its day.

Flores silvestres de Norteamérica

Entre 1925 y 1929, la Institución Smithsonian publicó 400 ilustraciones de Walcott en una edición de cinco volúmenes titulada North American Wildflowers. El libro estableció unatécnica nueva de impresión, conocida como Proceso Smithsonian, que se dice logró “la más fiel reproducción de colores” de su época.

Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) by Mary Vaux Walcott
Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) by Mary Vaux Walcott, 1924
Smithsonian American Art Museum

American artist and naturalist Mary Vaux Walcott was known for her beautiful and scientifically accurate paintings of flowers. When she found a rare specimen, she often painted on site, working for up to 17 hours to capture the delicate blossoms before they withered and lost their color.

Mary Vaux Walcott was compared to John James Audubon, a famous ornithologist who documented the birds of North America.

La artista y naturalista estadounidense Mary Vaux Walcott se dio a conocer por sus hermosas pinturas de flores de gran precisión científica. Cuando encontraba un espécimen raro, solía pintarlo en el lugar, trabajando hasta 17 horas para captar las delicadas flores antes de que se marchitaran y perdieran color.

A Mary Vaux Walcott se la ha comparado con John James Audubon, famoso ornitólogo que documentó las aves de Norteamérica.

Orchid (Epidendrum cochleatum) by Mary Vaux Walcott
Orchid (Epidendrum cochleatum) by Mary Vaux Walcott, 1919. Orchid pictured: Prosthechea cochleata, Clamshell Orchid. Smithsonian American Art Museum
White Epidendrum (Epidendrum nocturnum) by Mary Vaux Walcott
White Epidendrum (Epidendrum nocturnum) by Mary Vaux Walcott, 1919. Orchid pictured: Night Scented Epidendrum. Smithsonian American Art Museum
Tampa Epidendrum (Epidendrum tampense) by Mary Vaux Walcott
Tampa Epidendrum (Epidendrum tampense) by Mary Vaux Walcott, 1919. Orchid pictured: Encyclia tampensis, Florida Butterfly Orchid.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Spotted Cyrtopodium (Cyrtopodium punctatum) by Mary Vaux Walcott
Spotted Cyrtopodium (Cyrtopodium punctatum) by Mary Vaux Walcott, 1920. Orchid pictured: Cigar Orchid.
Smithsonian American Art Museum