Arch of Morning Glories, Study for "A Basket of Flowers"
Eugène Delacroix French
Not on view
This vivid pastel is a study for a painting in the Museum’s collection, Basket of Flowers, one of five "flower portraits" intended for the Salon of 1849. In February of that year, Delacroix wrote of the series, "I have tried to fashion pieces of nature, such as they present themselves to us in gardens, simply by bringing together, within the same frame and in a highly unlikely manner, the greatest possible variety of flowers." Here, Delacroix observes one variety: a thick, furled arch of white morning glories, which would provide the framework for an upended basket of flowers in the painted version. To effect the organic sprawl of the arch, Delacroix intertwined forest, moss, and chartreuse green pastels, setting them against a pale blue sky.
Delacroix approached this subject with the same sense of drama that he did his narrative subjects. As art critic Theophile Silvestre wrote in his obituary for Delacroix, "He was a master painter, with sunshine in his mind and storm in his heart. Over the course of forty years, he touched the entire range of human passions with his magnificent brush, sometimes fearsome and sometimes tender, going from saints to warriors, from warriors to lovers, from lovers to tigers, and from tigers to flowers."
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.