Influential Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx left his iconic creative mark not only in Brazil but in over 2000 gardens and public urban spaces he designed in 20 countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru.
One of the most influential landscape architects of the 20th century, Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) was also a painter, print maker, ecologist and musician. He’s one of those visionary people seemingly so ahead of his time that he makes one wonder how they fit all their talent and accomplishments into one life. A renowned artist, Marx’s geometric and abstract landscape work followed the same graphic nature as his paintings and tapestries, and he is accredited with having introduced modernist landscape architecture to Brazil. Marx’s iconic seaside pavement designs running along Rio de Janeiro ‘s Copacabana Beach are one of his most recognised and well-documented works.
“By organizing native plants in accordance with the aesthetic principles of the artistic vanguard, especially Cubism and abstractionism, he created a new and modern grammar for international landscape design.”
– Lauro Cavalcanti, curator Paco Imperial museum
Often venturing on expeditions into the Brazilian rainforest with botanists and photographers in search of rare and exotic plants, he was highly involved in environmental preservation and conservation. Discovering new species on these botanical trips, over 50 plants bear his name (such as Heliconia burle-marxii) and amassed a huge collection of plants in his own home and garden.
…the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant – rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance – but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself.
– Roberto Burle Marx
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