Reminiscent of Van Gogh's iconic series, Monet's Bouquet Of Sunflowers was painted seven years previously in 1881 - a reproduction of the life of a blooming bouquet taken from his garden at Vétheuil. Unlike Van Gogh's sunflower paintings which were originally intended to be merely decorative yet emerged as harsh, broken daggers of color, juxtaposed against contrasting splashes of light, in the reflection of his inner turmoil, Monet's shimmering display of warmth and vision elicited great admiration upon its first display.
First exhibited at the seventh Impressionist exhibition in 1882 and later exhibited at Paul Durand-Ruel's gallery in Paris Van Gogh most likely saw Monet's Bouquet Of Sunflowers when he was living in Paris in 1886. In a letter to his brother Van Gogh even mentioned Monet's work in reference to his friend Gaugin preference of his own to Monet's rendering. Like Van Gogh's, Monet's Bouquet Of Sunflowers was inspired by the Japanese woodblock prints that so captivated the artist and the Impressionists of his day.
Captured in a similar manner to his Haystack series Monet would work for a short period on the canvas as the light began to change and move across the resonant texture of the petals. He would repeat this day after day, capturing time, light, and movement across the surface of a variety of absorbed colors. His technique drew great admiration from fellow artists and critics at the Seventh Impressionist exhibition and is unique in that the canvas is one of the only still life reproductions the artist ever created. Whereas comparisons with Van Gogh's series are unavoidable, Monet's Bouquet Of Sunflowers is a compositional canvas, focusing more on position and balance than an intricate working of detail.
However, Monet's sunflowers are a sun-drenched beacon of the Impressionist style. The artist used a vibrant and complementary color pallet. The background was portrayed with swirling brushstrokes of blue, violet and pink – making the golden yellow and orange flowers pop in the viewer's eyes. The leaves give volume to the arrangement filled with flowers. The vase is white with a blue ornament on it, and it reflects some colors around it – like the color of the leaves and the red tablecloth. The fabric laid on the table is highly ornamented in green and blue, also complementing the warm colors harmoniously. The composition is simple, as the vase is centered, but differs as the edge of the table is off center.
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