Jens Jensen Documentary

July  19, 2013

     A documentary on one of the best-known American landscape architects will have its world premiere this weekend in the Quad Cities. Sponsored by the German American Heritage Center, "Jens Jensen: The Living Green" will be shown Saturday at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. The producer is Carey Lundin, a film and commercial director in Chicago. She says Jensen was the first to emphasize native plants and flowers.

     "What most people at the time were advocating was something that looked like a European garden or a European city. And the response to that by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and Jens Jensen was "no," we do not go that way. We should create something that's an American aesthetic, a democratic landscape that's about the people, not about Europe."

     Lundin says the title refers to a quote from Jensen, that "we all need the living green or we'll shrivel up inside."

     "By that he meant that it wasn't good enough to have a national park in some distant area that would take a long time to get to. The only thing that's good enough is green space that's in front of you every day - we need to have parks in as many places as possible near where people live."

     She says although Jensen focussed on "the people," he supported himself designing estates for some of the richest and best-known families, including Henry Ford, Friedrich Papst, and Montgomery Ward. He also designed the Denkmann-Hauberg estate in Rock Island.

     "Jens Jensen: the Living Green" will be shown Saturday at 2:30 pm at the Figge Museum. It will follow another documentary, on "The Tallgrass Prairie," starting at 1:30.