Flower paintings are often appreciated primarily for their decorative qualities, but their apparently simple beauty belies the symbolic and art-historical significance of the genre. The Dallas Museum of Art’s latest exhibition is the first in the USA to examine the subject of French floral still lifes in such depth. It brings together over 60 works by more than 30 artists, and spans over two centuries of artistic practice, from Siméon Chardin’s masterful 17th-century compositions to the colourful experiments of Henri Matisse.
Some artists, such as Henri Fantin-Latour, were renowned specialists in the genre, others turned to it intermittently as part of their wider practice. For all of them, the floral still life acted as a uniquely flexible genre, a well-established artistic tradition that was nonetheless adaptable to new artistic styles and tastes. Click on any image to open the slideshow.
‘Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse’ is at the Dallas Museum of Art until 8 February 2015, after which it tours to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (22 March–21 June 2015) and the Denver Art Museum (19 July–11 October 2015).