Flower Still Life, 1875

Adolphe Monticelli (1824-1886)

  • Oil on Canvas, 51 x 39 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Although still lifes of flowers were a genre that traditionally did not enjoy high standing, they became enormously popular during the age of Impressionism and Realism. Flower still lifes were a rewarding subject, thanks to their lack of narrative element and the opportunity they presented to experiment with colour, light and form. Adolphe Monticelli painted his bouquet with short, thick brushstrokes. The flowers and the vase consist of patches of colour; most of the flowers, except for the forget-me-nots, are not easily recognizable.

Theo van Gogh bought this Monticelli still life of flowers in 1886. Vincent waxed lyrical about the piece which he found extremely inspiring. Friends provided him with fresh flowers, and he painted many flower still lifes during his time in Paris. These feature a similar composition and the same use of thick brushstrokes as the Monticelli work.

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