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June 10, 2011

A master of the still life with flowers: Jan van Huysum

Jan van Huysum, Flowers in a Terra-Cotta Urn on a Marble Ledge.  Pen and brown ink, watercolor, over black chalk, with traces of gum arabic. Joan Taub Ades Collection.

Jan van Huysum, Vase of Flowers.
Oil on panel, 1722.
The Getty Center at Los Angeles.
Just wanted to share this beautiful drawing by Jan van Huysum.  This Dutch painter was trained by his own father.  His specialty was to paint flowers, and he did so from life.  His attention to floral detail as well as light, color and shadow were combined to creating glowing and vivid images, so exact, the flowers seem to burst off the canvas.  He often began his works with drawings as studies before painting the final image.

A rather entertaining story is said about Huysum, from the Getty Museum site:
He once wrote a patron to explain that her painting would be delayed a year because, unable to obtain a real yellow rose, he could not finish the picture.
 Imagine!  Surely she knew, and if she was paying for a van Huysum, that it was well worth the wait.   Artists of this genre often created the most fantastic bouquets, by using flowers from all seasons, often painted from other images as the bouquets were impossible to assemble in life. Van Huysum's  took the care to study and paint each bloom from life, making the story completely plausible.  You can see his attention to detail in these works.


Vase of Flowers, detail.

Jan van Huysum, Still-life with Flowers. Oil on canvas, mid-1700s. Galleria delgi Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Detail

Detail

Jan van Huysum, Flower study. Watercolor strengthened with gum on paper, early 1700s. British Museum.


Jan van Huysum, Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn. Oil on wood, 1724. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Detail

1 comment

  1. I have a very small framed print that looks so much like these. I bought it at a Thrift store for 1.98. I will do some research and find out if it is a copy. I bought the frame for another picture, but I just couldn't change it. I am so glad I didn't, even if it is not a van Huysum print. So pretty.

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