Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Monday, August 28, 2006

At the Florist, 1889

The sidewalk flower sellers of Paris reappear in Boston more than a century later.


At the Florist

Frederick Childe Hassam, 1889

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

Thank you, Nick Read, for the premonition.

We received your lovely post card, a lady and her maid shopping for flowers somewhere in Paris (Les Halles?). Keeping city grime off the merchandise are clean wraps of white paper, upside down versions of the servant girl’s apron. Is that a peach someone’s tossed by the curb? A nice bit of realism, the florists have just refreshed a few of the plants at left, as water streams from the pots across the sidewalk.

The painting, by Childe Hassam, is one of 100 works now on view, through September 24, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts show Americans in Paris: 1860-1900.  Lots of flowers crop up here, in Sargent’s painting of the Luxembourg Gardens, along the strap of a woman’s dress in Mary Cassat’s portrait of an opera goer. You may see Winslow Homer, as well as Whistler and his mother.

Our friend Nick, a fine painter himself, is also a forthright critic. While “trying out” to be a docent at the esteemed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Nick was asked to comment on one prize in the collection, El Jaleo. He failed to suppress the observation that John Singer Sargent hadn’t gotten the Spanish dancer’s anatomy quite right. (We’ll let you guess how that story ended.)

Speaking of critics, here’s a lukewarm review of the MFA exhibit from the Boston Globe. Cate McQuaid describes Hassam’s “At the Florist”  as “vaguely stiff.” However, Nick writes,  ‘“This was a nice painting, well done.”  Such is high praise!



Posted by Julie on 08/28 at 09:12 PM
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