American Flower Painting
American Flower Painting
Flowers have always held a special place in the history of painting. From 17th-century botanical illustrations made by the first explorers in the New World to 18th-century symbolist portraits, to 19th-century romantic still lifes, to 20th-century floral fantasies, flower paintings have played a rich variety of roles.
In AMERICAN FLOWER PAINTING Dennis Anderson, noted art historian, gives the reader a fascinating look at the development of American culture as reflected in the flower paintings of its artists. Starting with the earliest botanical illustrations painted by the French Huguenot explorer Jacques le Moyne de Morgues while on an expedition to Florida, the author examines all of the major influences of each historic period, citing famous artists who have been important to the history of art. From the early Dutch settlers, with their love of the still life and its colorful bouquets, came the first extensive art collections which were to influence such American artists as Charles Willson Peale and john Singleton Copley. This dominance would only be surpassed in the 19th century by the influences of the English Romantic painters who would spawn such great artists as Albert Pinkham Ryder, Ralph Blakelock, and James McNeill Whistler.
And with the advancement of westward exploration and scientific discoveries came a continued interest in nature and the ever-enlarging frontier. The flower paintings of artists such as John La Farge and Martin J Heade reflected these combined interests of scientific thought and art. Later artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries exemplified the changing culture even more. American Impressionists Mary Cassatt, J Alden Weir, William Merritt Chase, and John H Twachtman all paid tribute to the flower in their personal painting styles. Finally, the impact of industrialization and modern aft became evident in the flower paintings of such artists as Charles Demuth, Joseph Stella, and Georgia O'Keeffe---whose concerns with intense color and sensuous surfaces continue to influence painters today.
Following Anderson's introductory essay are 32 full-color plates of some of the most famous American flower paintings. Each picture is discussed individually, examining each artist's style and background.
AMERICAN FLOWER PAINTING is a fascinating panorama of one of America's favorite painting subjects. It is as beautiful as it is informative.