25 1/8 x 21 3/16 in. (63.8 x 53.8 cm)
Framed: 32 1/4 x 28 1/2 x 3 3/8in. (81.9 x 72.4 x 8.6cm)
Gift of Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard, 1979
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
In 1925 Tarbell retired to his summer home in New Hampshire, where he painted a number of still lifes of the pink and white peonies that grew in his flower garden. This is the least finished of those late works. During his student years in Paris in the late 1880s, Tarbell may have seen peony paintings by Édouard Manet, and he may have been trying here to emulate their immediacy and freshness. At first, Tarbell included a Chinese figurine on the far right, perhaps to underscore the flower’s association with Asian art, but then loosely brushed a blossom over it (the pentimento is visible).
Signature: [at lower right]: Tarbell
M. T. Lee, Wilton, Connecticut, until 1979; Kennedy Galleries, New York, as agent, 1979; Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard, New York, 1979