Prune Royal – Plums
by Pierre Joseph Redoute
approximately 8″ x 11″
Fair Market Value: $100.00
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Pierre-Joseph Redouté (July 10, 1759 – June 20, 1840), was a French painter and botanist, known for his paintings of the roses, lilies and other flowers at Malmaison. Redouté was born in Saint-Hubert, Luxembourg, which is now part of Belgium. He was an official court artist of Queen Marie Antoinette, and he continued painting through the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. Redouté survived the turbulent political upheaval to gain international recognition for his precise renderings of plants which remain as fresh in the early 21st century as when first painted.
Paris was the cultural and scientific center of Europe during an outstanding period (1798 – 1837) in the illustration of plants, one noted for the publication of several folio books with colored plates. Redouté contributed over 2100 published plates depicting over 1800 different species, many never rendered before.
Although he was relatively uneducated, both Redouté’s father and grandfather were painters. He left home at the age of 13 to earn his living as an itinerant Belgian painter, doing interior decoration, portraits and religious commissions. Enthusiastically, Redouté became an heir to the tradition of the Flemish and Dutch flower painters Brueghel, Ruysch, van Huysum and de Heem.
Over his long career, Redouté painted the gardens at the Petite Trianon of Marie Antoinette as her official court artist. During the revolution and Reign of Terror, he was appointed to document gardens which became national property. However, during the patronage of the generous Empress Josephine, Redouté’s career flourished and he produced his most sumptuous books portraying plants from places as distant as Japan, South Africa and Australia as well as Europe and America.
After Josephine’s death, Redouté’s fortunes fell until he was appointed as a master of design for the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in 1822. He became a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1825. Although particularly renowned for his botanical exploration of roses and lilies, he thereafter produced paintings purely for aesthetic value including those of the celebrated “Choix des plus belles Fleurs”.
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