Preston Dickinson (American, 18891930)
Oil on canvas; 30 1/4 x 18 3/8 in. (76.8 x 46.7 cm)
Gift of Carl D. Lobell, 1995 (1995.547.3)
Under the enduring influence of Paul Cézanne, Dickinson frequently worked in still life, the genre that the Post-Impressionist master had established as equal in stature to landscape or portraiture. Vase of Flowers unites Dickinson's skill at representing a traditional subject with his more avant-garde ideas about composition and perspective; he was considered one of the painters working in a Precisionist style in the 1920s. This scene is framed by a blue curtain, a conventional device of illusionistic painting, yet the sharply tilted tabletop and the hard-edged planes of the depicted objects indicate the artist's interest in newer means of representation. The woman's fan and the vase holding tulips and tiger lilies are timeless still-life elements, although the ashtray with a cigarette balanced on its rim is a pleasingly modern touch.