The Denver Art Museum is overflowing with flowers this summer for In Bloom (on view through October 11), a stunning collection of 19th-century still-life floral paintings. But as we all well know, half of the beauty of flowers is their aroma. Which is why as you stroll through Claude Monet‘s flower garden at Giverny (about halfway through the installation), you’ll be greeted by the rich scents of roses and peonies and the fresh pine of trees.
No, your mind isn’t playing tricks. For the first time, the DAM has incorporated the sense of smell into the exhibit experience. Boulder-based perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz created four aromatic accords—handcrafted blends of two or more essences, which are combined to create a new fragrance—to correspond with various highlights in the garden. The scented air streams blow as you walk by without damaging the artwork. It’s a high-tech, multi-sensory experience that showcases fragrance as a form of art in its own right.
But it doesn’t end when you walk out of the room (er, garden). Pick up a scratch-and-sniff card to remember the olfactory experience. Once that fades, check out Hurwitz’s Giverny In Bloom collection, which she created to accompany the exhibit. The set of four, which are also available to purchase individually, includes: Le Jardin Vert (green foliage, trees, and moist earth), La Danse des Bleus et des Violettes (violets, irises, and lilacs), l’Opera des Rouges et des Roses (roses, peonies, and carnations), and Giverny In Bloom, which combines the full range of accords.