A bunch of flowers in a ceramic vase is displayed on a table. The tablecloth is decorated with flowers and blue stripes that help create a sense of recession into depth.
Like most of Monticelli’s works, this picture is painted on a wood panel, much of which is left visible. Thick paint and blobs of pure colour have been used to suggest the flowers. The painting is similar in style to other still lifes by the artist in the National Gallery’s collection such as Still Life: Oysters, Fish and Still Life: Fruits, which feature the same tablecloth and were probably painted around the same time.
Monticelli was highly regarded by his contemporaries, and was especially influential on Vincent van Gogh, who bought a flower painting by him which resembles this one. Vincent and his brother Theo were involved in publishing the first-ever book on Monticelli.
A bunch of flowers in a ceramic vase is displayed on a table. The flowery tablecloth is decorated with prominent blue stripes which suggest a recession into depth and compensate for the rather flat background.
Like most of Monticelli’s work, this picture is painted on a wood panel, part of which has been left visible and acts as a mid-tone. Thick impastoed paint, typical of his late style, has been used to delineate the flowers and to model their forms as well as describe their colour. The brushstrokes sometimes move in opposite directions, and blobs of pure colour suggest the petals. This painting is related to other Monticelli still lifes in the Gallery’s collection: Still Life: Oysters, Fish and Still Life: Fruits. These pictures feature the same tablecloth and were probably painted about the same time.
Monticelli was highly regarded by his contemporaries, and his long-term friendship with Cézanne is well known and documented. However, it is his influence on Van Gogh which is perhaps most notable. The Dutch painter saw Monticelli’s work for the first time in Paris in 1886. On that occasion he purchased one of his flower pieces, a painting (now in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) which is very similar to this one. Soon afterwards he went to Provence, where Monticelli had worked, and in 1890 Vincent and his brother Theo were involved in publishing the first-ever book on Monticelli. These experiences proved very important for the evolution of Van Gogh’s unique style and technique.
Although Monticelli’s work tends to be overlooked by scholars today, it seems to have paved the way for the technical and stylistic development of some of the most important Post-Impressionist artists.
This painting previously formed part of a collection belonging to Mr Harry Wearne. It was presented to the Tate in 1939, ten years after Wearne’s death, together with 11 other works by Monticelli. This group of pictures was eventually transferred to the National Gallery in 1956.
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