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Thoughts on Flowers in Art

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Yael Scalia Still Life with Rosebuds oil on canvas mounted on board 2008

This painting by Yael Scalia has a lovely and mild tonal range, so the darker and more intensely hued interior of the rose becomes a wonderfully pitch-perfect accent. And the shapes! If you know your Morandi, his work comes quickly to mind, yet this painting is not an imitation- Scalia has been clearly inspired by her subject rather than just using it as a vehicle for an homage.


Describing what it was like for her to see a Morandi for the first time, Scalia says "I immediately recognized something that was deeply familiar, somehow known to me." In her interview with Painting Perceptions, she says, "I’m an apostle of Ingres’ statement that in all beauty there is strangeness."

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Edouard Vuillard  The Mantlepiece oil on cardboard, 51.4 x 77.5 cm 1905

Edouard Vuillard was inspired by the synthetism of Gauguin, meaning that he wanted to synthesize three things in his paintings: outward appearances, his own feelings about a subject, and aesthetic considerations. 


Vuillard lived for most of his life with his mother, a dressmaker, and it seems that he was as influenced by the color and patterns of her materials as he was by the work of his friends Pierre Bonnard and Paul Sérusier. His paintings look richly embroidered, with a modernist tension between flat pattern and spatial movement.

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Catherine Kehoe Begonia oil on board 8"x8" 2008

Catharine Kehoe says "my work is about the way I look and the way I see". This simple subject of a begonia plant is painted with a highly charged patience. There is a flattening effect in the way she emphasizes color, line and shape over atmospheric space, which combined with the strength of the overall pattern of negative and positive space  make her work seem thoroughly modern.

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Stanley Spencer Madonna Lilies oil on canvas 1935

Sir Stanley Spencer once said "When I see anything, I see everything". His relatively rare paintings of flowers or non-peopled landscapes have the same intense focus and detail as his narrative work, but with perhaps a less highly-charged complexity of meaning. 

The tree bark here is painted with a brilliant combination of careful detail and subtle softness, and the distant windows move back in space clearly and cleanly, without atmospheric effects. 

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