Motivation to start your next garden — or painting — project lies just beyond the doors of the Denver Art Museum.
A colorful new exhibition just opened at the Denver Art Museum exploring the floral still life paintings of 19th-century French modernists Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and others. “In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism” is the centerpiece exhibition for a campus-wide summer celebration of flowers. Featuring over 60 paintings by history’s greatest Impressionists, the colorful exhibition explores how this traditional subject and genre were reinvented in late-19th-century France.

Jan Frans Van Dael, “A Vase of Flowers on a Ledge,” 1817, oil on canvas, 21 7/8 x 18 1/4 in.
The Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Vincent Van Gogh, “Vase of Flowers,” 1890, oil on canvas, 16 9/16 x 11 7/16 in. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

To highlight the evolution, curators have included paintings from the late 1700s through 1900 as well. Early paintings by such masters as Pierre-Joseph Redouté begin the chronological journey, continuing with Camille Pissarro before leading into the Impressionists. The exhibition concludes with the paintings of Odilon Redon, Pierre Bonnard, and Henri Matisse, who continued to evolve the practices of the Impressionists and modernism.

Antonie Berjon, “Bouquet of Lilies and Roses in a Basket on a Chiffonier,” 1814, oil on canvas, 26 3/16 x 19 1/2 in.Musée du Louvre, Département des Peintures, Paris.

Vincent Van Gogh, “Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies,” 1887, oil on canvas, 31 ½ x 26 3/8 in.
Triton Collection Foundation.

Of note is Simon Saint-Jean’s “The Gardener,” a beautifully rendered portrait of an unnamed sitter engulfed by an exquisite arrangement of roses, tulips, peonies, lilies, and so much more. One can almost detect a sweet aroma emanating from the canvas, the same aroma that attracts the fluttering butterflies that circle the subject. Equally pleasing is van Gogh’s “Vase of Flowers,” displaying the artist’s characteristic impasto and moving expressionism. In a sea of greens and blues, a single vibrant red flower reaches out to the viewer and commands attention, its intensity heightened by the complementary greens.
“In Bloom: Painting Flowers in the Age of Impressionism” opened on July 19 and will be on view through October 11.
To learn more, visit the Denver Art Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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