Floral Still Life with Shells
oil on board, signed, inscribed and dated lower left "P. Lacroix NY 66 "
17 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
Provenance: A Little Rock, Arkansas estate; Private Collection, Tennessee.
Paul Lacroix was an American painter of French or Swiss origin who was best known for his lush still life paintings, particularly florals. His realistic technique and allegorical elements hark back to the work of Dutch, German and French masters of the still life which were popular in mid-century America. Few facts are known about Lacroix but it is speculated that he trained or associated with Severin Roesen in New York prior to Roesen's departure to Pennsylvania.
The 19th century in America witnessed a revival in the attention to symbolism in elements traditionally chosen for still life paintings such as flowers, fruits, and other objects like musical instruments, tableware, shells, game animals, etc. Numerous books were written about the meaning of flowers in particular, known as 'floriographies,' often illustrated by young women artists. Lacroix's arrangement here with a bouquet of flowers and two shells evokes the themes of romance and love. The dominant oriental 'stargazer' lily in the center is traditionally thought to convey romance, wealth and prosperity while the pink roses and fuchsia echo the theme of love, perhaps innocent and young love. The forget-me-nots express a hope of enduring connection and partnering. The beautifully rendered shells in the lower right foreground depict the exotic purple-top tiger cowrie, a strong fertility reference, and a letter olive shell widely found in southern U.S. waters. Overall, the elements chosen in this lovely grouping of red, white and blue flowers with shells suggests a piece celebrating a marriage and may have been a gift to newlyweds.
tags: still life, French, oil painting, 19th century
Condition: Canvas: Not Applicable
Condition: Very Good
Restoration: Very Minor
Frame: Quality Reproduction
Very minor scattered restoration mostly to edges.
Framed dimensions - 23 x 17 x 2 inches
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