Vase of Flowers and Conch Shell

Artist: Anne Vallayer-Coster (French, Paris 1744–1818 Paris)

Date: 1780

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: Oval, 19 3/4 x 15 in. (50.2 x 38.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1906

Accession Number: 07.225.504


A leading exponent of still life painting, Vallayer-Coster joined the French Academy in 1770. She was patronized before the revolution by Marie Antoinette and later by the Empress Josephine.

This picture can perhaps be identified with one of "three small oval paintings of flowers and fruits" exhibited in the Salon of 1781. Diderot commented upon the truthfulness of her work. Notice the play of light on the porcelain and gilt of the vase and the iridescent sheen of the shell.