Black butterfly on a flower tapestry


Black butterfly on a flower tapestry

Featuring: Claire Rosen

Presented by:

United Photo Industries








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Everyday in the Smorgasburg Beer Garden

Humankind has always had a complicated relationship with nature characterized by awe and admiration, tension and destruction. The human desire to be surrounded by images of nature has been replicated in household ornamentation throughout civilization.

The walls of the imperial villas of Ancient Rome were adorned with frescoes detailing rich flora and fauna. During the Renaissance, Rafael reinvented this ancient style through his grotesques, which depict birds, fruits, and plant life. Carefully crafted representations of the natural world were re-imagined yet again, in nineteenth century Britain when William Morris began producing richly ornamented wallpaper featuring wild birds and vegetation.

Artist Claire Rosen offers a new perspective on this tradition, with portraits of creatures photographed against complementary backdrops, featuring reproductions of historic wallpaper popular during the Victorian era. As the cult of colonization and exploration spread during the Victorian era in Europe, it yielded brutal discovery and domination of faraway places, creatures, and cultures. As these discoveries made their way back to Europe, their collection and display, as well as a general fascination with the natural world–and its exotic inhabitants–rose in fashion.

This series references the desire to possess the beautiful, wild, and exotic, possessions that permanently change the object of desire through its dislocation. The backgrounds in this series were selected to induce beauty, optical illusion, and visual blending: the animals appear to belong when in reality, it is a far cry from their natural environment.


Claire Rosen is an award-winning artist whose elaborate constructions often feature animals evoking the aesthetics of classical European painting. The transportive images captivate with a fascination of the natural world and ideals of beauty.

Rosen was named twice on Forbes 30 under 30 list for Art & Design, and has received recognition from Communication Arts, International Photography Awards, Graphis, Photo District News, and five consecutive years on the Photoville’s The FENCE. Her work has been featured in Der Greif, Direct Art, Fast & Co., Feature Shoot, The Guardian, Juxtapoz, NPR, National Geographic, PDN, Refinery29, Slate Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and The Washington Post.

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