Some of you may be familiar with the ballet anacréontique Le Réveil de Flore first performed in 1894, while others may be more familiar with our Palm House, goddess of spring, Flora. Flora has been living on the bowling alley for the past two and a half years, while the greenhouse restoration project was underway. Today she moved back to her dais.
Flora is a statue which was created by “The Girls”, sculptors, Loring and Wyle. Frances Loring and Florence Wyle were also known as the first women of Canadian sculpture and are affectionately named the girls. Spanning more than 50 years, their careers as sculptors have given Canadians a rich body of work that may be discovered and admired in many public spaces and galleries throughout the country.
Loring met Wyle in 1905, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Their initial meeting spawned a lifelong friendship and professional collaboration. Wyle, who had been studying sculpture for a few years, had originally set out to become a doctor. Her premedical studies and her profound respect for anatomical perfection had a significant effect on her work as one of Canada’s finest academic sculptors.
Influenced by her training in the neo-classical tradition and by her exposure to a newer vision epitomized by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Loring’s work has a dynamic quality and a unique heroic style.
Wyle acknowledged the classical work of Greek sculptors and strived to create works that conveyed various aspects of the human condition. The realism and attention to detail apparent in her early sculptures, gave way to a more abstract and stylized treatment of the human form as her career progressed. Wyle preferred to work in bronze, but later developed an affinity for wood.
While the Parkwood carerra marble Flora lived on the bowling alley she received some conservation treatments from Fine Art Object conservator, Miriam H. From the years of exposure to greenhouse conditions, moisture, heat and plants, there was staining to be removed, as well as minor repairs from historic damages.