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Friday, November 25, 2011

Offering of the day: A Delicately Painted Still Life of Peaches by the Master Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840)

 Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840)
Still Life with Peaches
Watercolor on vellum
Vellum size: 8 1/4 x 11 inches
Framed: 16 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches
Signed lower left: P J  Redouté

A label is affixed to the back of the frame that is in French – the translation reads the following:

 “In Paris, Avenue of the Champs - Elysees, #28 and on the Boulevard de la Madeleine, #5/ Adolphe le Goupy / Sells and buys beautiful print engravings both framed and loose, both ancient and modern and paintings and drawings by only the best artists. He also owns a beautiful collection of books and engravings on sports. He has himself framed all of these works and can ship all the way to the south of France: everything is fairly priced.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) is unquestionably the best-known botanical illustrator of any era.  His work seems to demand the invention of lofty praise.  A critic, writing of the 1804 Salon exhibition, noted that Redouté’s “six paintings of flowers executed in watercolor for H. M. the empress ... are realistic and beautifully painted, ... perfectly imitating nature.”  He concluded, “The delicacy, exactitude, and elegance of the brushwork gives them great merit.” Vivant Denon, Director of Museums under the Empire, stated that Redouté’s gouaches were “masterpieces,” and the artist was similarly described both as the "Rembrandt" and the "Raphael" of flowers by nineteenth-century writers.  It is thus unsurprising that Redouté occupies a central position in the development of European floral art, contributing to both the artistry and scientific advancement of botanical study. 

This lovely little still life is housed at my gallery on 72nd street for all to see.  

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