Medium: Oil On Canvas
Size: 51 x 62 cm
Signed: Gustave Courbet
Paul Rosenberg, Paris; Paul Cassirer, Berlin; Jakob Goldschmidt, Berlin (1928); Alfred E. Goldschmidt, Stamford, CT (sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, October 28,1970, lot 16); Private collection, Switzerland.
Paris, Petit Palais, Exposition Gustave Courbet, 1929, no, 89; Boston, Museum of Fine Art; and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet 1959-60, no. 42; Paris, Petit Palais, Peintres de Fleurs du XVIle au XlXe Siecle, 1979, no. 61.
One of over twenty still lifes of flowers (of which nineteen have survived) painted by Courbet while staying with his friend Etienne Baudry at the Château de Rochemont, near Saintes, in the spring and summer of 1862 and 1863. Baudry was both a supporter of the arts and an amateur botanist, hence his own garden was rich in examples of the rare and exotic. Courbet had included incidental floral still lifes in some earlier works but had never before concentrated on isolated arrangements of flowers. Like the others in the series, this work is painted with rapid brush and palette strokes characteristic of the artist, the richly colored blossoms, both wild and cultivated, jammed in a simple bowl placed on a covered table. Courbet has eschewed the elegant arrangements of his more conventional contemporaries, and instead the viewer is confronted with glowing peonies and tulips set against dark green leaves, lilac branches laden with blossom and hints of deeper hues barely discernible amid the jumble of color. In the handling of paint Courbet anticipates the work of both Edouard Manet, whose occasional diversion into pure still life paralleled his interest in the still life elements of his more complex compositions, and the even more radical Paul Cézanne.