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Chrysanthemum. The garden in Petit-Gennevilliers

Painting, 1893, 98×59.8 cm

Description of the artwork «Chrysanthemum. The garden in Petit-Gennevilliers»

This picture was available to the General public only in 2014 when the honourable John Whitehead, the financier and former US Deputy Secretary of state, gave it to the Metropolitan Museum in new York. The Museum immediately called the acquisition one of the most important and interesting in recent years: the picture is amazing because doesn't fit in any genre. When the impressionist painter, wrote still lifes, he cut the flowers in his garden and put them in a vase or carefully laid out on the table apples and looked at it from a short distance. If it was about the landscape, the flowers were only part of the landscape. The flowers looked from afar. Caillebotte's like he climbed into a dense flower garden – and wrote the chrysanthemums standing directly above them and looking down. On this view, even the easel is nowhere to put – we need to look just at his feet.

Caillebotte painted this unusual picture of the year before death. He lived in his house, in the town of Petit-Gennevilliers, far from Paris, raised flowers and built boats. In the garden of the artist grew irises, roses, orchids and chrysanthemums. It is now for us the chrysanthemum flower simple, cheap, and devoid of exquisite charm. For the French artists of the late XIX century, who fought for the right to paint flowers for the flowers themselves, without meanings and symbols of the chrysanthemum was the only flower that meant so much more. And of course, it was connected with Japan.

When Japanese porcelain, carelessly wrapped in prints of Japanese artists started to appear in the French shops, when in the middle of the century, Japanese art became available to the French at the World exhibitions, it became a real obsession. Japanese fans, Japanese kimonos, Japanese screens, prints on the walls of the apartments and houses the most fashionable and famous artists and writers. On the prints, mount Fuji, women in toilet and amazing chrysanthemums.

The chrysanthemum in Japanese sounds the same as the sun. And portrayed the same character. The Japanese love this flower, still breed new varieties and arrange in honor of his big festivals. Chrysanthemum with 16 petals cloven for many centuries, is a symbol of the Imperial family, and sometimes performs the role of the state emblem. This image is sacred. Chrysanthemum and refers to the noble plants.

Certainly, chrysanthemum Impressionists painters loved by the Japanese, for example, Will hokusay. This flower was symbolic and exotic. Bouquet of chrysanthemums wrote Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro (1, 2, 3, 4). Critics suggest that Caillebotte was going to decorate the painting "Chrysanthemums" doors in my house and this painting was only the beginning of a Grand design project. This image was located on the lower door panel and the view of flowers from above was to create a living and absolutely accurate impression that the flowers grow underneath your feet. Flowers occupy all the space of the canvas – they do not fit in the allotted size and go far beyond the paintings, creating a feeling of thick, heavy, almost wild flower garden. Similar experiments with water and water lilies occupying the entire space of the canvas, with the elimination of background and horizon held near Caillebotte, Giverny, Claude Monet. He, too, wanted to decorate someone's living room with their panels. In this impressionistic experiment with a new decorative accent and new discoveries Monet was in a better position than Caillebotte. It is studied for more than a century, and paintings by Caillebotte still be opening and unexpected discoveries.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Alternative titles: Clump Of Chrysanthemums, Garden At Petit Gennevilliers

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Still life, Landscape

Style of art: Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1893

Size: 98×59.8 cm

Artwork in selections: 38 selections

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