The New American Garden The Landscape Architecture of Oehme & van Sweden

October 12, 2016
The  LSU Student Union Art Gallery is proud to present  The New American Garden: The Landscape Architecture of Oehme, van Sweden, a photographic landscape architecture exhibition which chronicles the careers and influence of Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden . The exhibit boasts a variety of contemporary and newly commissioned photographs of important residential, civic, and commercial projects. It will be on display October 19-December 9, 2016 & is free & open to the public
The New American Garden exhibition is presented within thecontext of TCLF’s Landslide program, which brings attention to nationally significant works of landscape architecture and landscape features that are threatened and at-risk. Oehme & van Sweden revolutionized the field of landscape architecture with their New American Garden typology, one centered on the use of broad and lush sweeps of grasses and perennials, and rich contrasts of textures, rather than the neatly clipped lawn-based landscapes that characterized postwar American design. Featured landscapes include bold romantic gardens, residential gardens, and civic and commercial projects. A primary goal of the exhibition is to make the Oehme, van Sweden legacy visible and valued, and to promote a dialogue that will lead to informed stewardship.

The son of a building contractor, van Sweden was raised in a large Dutch community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He loved plants and gardening from an early age, and he honed his gardening and design skills in the small backyard of his family’s suburban bungalow. In 1960, at the age of 25, he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan before studying landscape architecture at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. After three years, he returned to the United States and became a partner at Marcou, O’Leary and Associates. Then, in 1975, he founded the partnership with Wolfgang Oehme that would define his professional career and introduce the world to the New American Garden, an aesthetic that challenged conventional approaches to landscape design.
Born and raised in Karl-Marx-Stadt (formerly Chemnitz), Germany, Oehme trained as a gardener at the Illge Nursery and worked in his

 teens and early twenties at the Bitterfeld Parks and Cemeteries Department. His mentors in Europe were Hans-Joachim Bauer and the well-known gardener and plantsman Karl Foerster. Oehme studied landscape architecture at the University of Berlin’s Advanced School of Garden Design, graduating in 1954. After working at a nursery near London and as a planner in Frankfurt, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1957, where he worked for the Baltimore County Department of Parks. Oehme practiced landscape architecture independently between 1966 and 1974, and in 1975 he partnered with James van Sweden.
For more information about the exhibition, James van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme visit
The Gallery is located in the LSU Student Union, on the second floor, across the center lobby from the Tiger Lair Food Court, next to the Information Center. The gallery is open Monday- Friday 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.  The gallery is free and open to the public.  Parking for the Union Art Gallery is available at Union Square in the parking garage behind Barnes and Noble.
Generous support has been provided by more than one hundred organizations and individuals including: Presenting Sponsors, The Davey Tree Expert Company and Victor Stanley, Inc.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)

Founded in 1998, is a non-profit foundation that provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture, its practitioners, and our shared landscape legacy in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its website, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. TCLF makes a special effort to heighten the awareness of those who impact cultural landscapes, assist groups and organizations working to increase the appreciation and recognition of cultural landscapes, and develop educational tools for young people to better connect them to their cultural landscape environs.