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Henry Stevens - Orchids in Three Vases
Henry Stevens
Orchids in Three Vases
$3,500
Sale
$2,450
Arthur Tress - The Flowers of Wonder, New York
Arthur Tress
The Flowers of Wonder, New York
$6,500
Anonymous - Female Nude with Wreathe of Flowers
Anonymous
Female Nude with Wreathe of Flowers
$1,500
Anonymous - Flower Still Life
Anonymous
Flower Still Life
$750
Sale
$525
Anonymous - Middle Eastern Woman Holding Flowers
Anonymous
Middle Eastern Woman Holding Flowers
$3,500
Anonymous - Nude with Vase of Flowers
Anonymous
Nude with Vase of Flowers
$900
Sale
$630
Anonymous - Still Life of Flowers in a Glass
Anonymous
Still Life of Flowers in a Glass
$750
Sale
$525
Anonymous - Three Young Women Seated
Anonymous
Three Young Women Seated
$1,500
Sale
$1,050
Anonymous - White Flowers
Anonymous
White Flowers
$400
Sale
$280
Anonymous - Woman and Sun Flower
Anonymous
Woman and Sun Flower
$450
Sale
$315
Anonymous (French) - Orchids (Odontoglossum Alexandrae)
Anonymous (French)
Orchids (Odontoglossum Alexandrae)
$1,250
Sale
$875
Anonymous (French) - Still Life of Flowers
Anonymous (French)
Still Life of Flowers
$300
Sale
$210
By Matt Damsker

Jean-Marie Auradon--Poppies and Wheat Stalks

The wondrous blend of simplicity and complexity that defines a flower seems perfectly suited to still-life photography, and throughout the medium's history, photographers have explored floral arrangements on a number of levels--from the purely formal and descriptive to the richly abstract, and as a natural subject for color work. Given that still-life portraiture allows the painter or photographer to exert maximal design control, it is also worth noting that the naturalism of flowers--no two exactly alike--injects a wild note into the most controlled studio setting.

The examples in this exhibit date, for the most part, from the onset of photographic modernism, when the camera had been freed to capture any subject in any way. Thus, these floral works represent a determination on the part of several generations of photo artists to reinvigorate and reinvent the traditional genre, and so they do. All the same, the few examples from photography's early days--such as Adolphe Braun's albumen-print floral sprays from the 1850s, or early anonymous studies, including colorful autochromes--hardly seem out of place among later works, for they bring comparable rigor to their use of lighting and in their compositional flair.

Indeed, flowers tend to look interesting no matter how they are arranged or framed, but they can be hard to light well, given the free curl of their growth patterns, and the multiple petals--alternating the hidden and the visible--of their blossoms. Artists, such as Jean-Marie Auradon, in the 1930s, incorporated shadow and reflection as major aspects, as opposed to mere incidentals, in floral studies, and went beyond the typical, frontal still-life composition to include bird's-eye and extreme close-up views, making use of the picture plane in ways that proved innovative and influential.

Other artists from the same era, such as Barbara Morgan, went further, creating surreal photomontages, utilizing oversized floral images juxtaposed with scenes of daily life. While still others, such as George Eisenman, produced startlingly novel modern effects, such as x-ray images of flowers.

As for more contemporary works, such as the ghostly floral still lifes of Polish master Krzysztof Pruszkowski or the numinous blossoms of Olivia Parker, they tend to evoke a neo-Pictorialism that is, after all, a hallmark of postmodern art, circling back as it does to classical modes while putting a fresh twist on form and content. And not to ignore one of floral art's most enduring associations--the eroticism of stamen and anther--these images also suggest all the fecundity of the natural world as it bursts to life in infinite ways.

The Flower in Photographs
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-822-5662

Call for an Appointment

 

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