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Heliconia chartacea var. meeana

Alice Tangerini (b. 1949), 1992, 11 1/2 × 15 3/8 in., drawing, pen and ink on Cronaflex Drafting film. Loan, Alice Tangerini / Smithsonian Institution
Heliconia chartacea var. meeana

While traveling along the Vaupés River in Brazil in 1985, Mee painted a heliconia distinguished by its yellow rather than red or pink coloring. Intrigued by this drawing—a variety that he had not known before—botanist John Kress identified Heliconia chartacea var. meeana during his trip to Venezuelan Amazonia in 1991, naming it in honor of the British artist. Tangerini’s illustration deliberately flattens the form by analyzing it into planes and paying particular attention to the structure of the flower, a method that involves the use of shading to convey volume, but allows no foreshortening. Added measurements maximize the amount of accurate information about the plant for the purpose of identification and documentation.

 

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