Anemones - by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Renoir Loved to paint fLowers, and he used them often, spotted about in larger compositions and as subjects in their own right. Later on, he painted them as "experiments in flesh tones" for the nude. As may be seen in this collection of plates, he was sensitive not only to the color and obvious beauty of flowers, but also to their living character: they stand rigidly upright, they are twisted in growing, and occasionally they droop. With unfailing insight, he penetrates their naturalness.

There are many interesting technical aspects to this canvas, and we are, so to speak, brought up close to the painter's methods. The entire background of the picture may be seen to be washed in with pigment as thin as watercolor. Inasmuch as the dark vase stabilizes the picture, the table-top is almost entirely suppressed, lest its bulk overpower the composition: only a slight lightening of value indicates it. Yet, for the sake of controlled enrichment, the brush strokes here run in a contrasting horizontal direction.

The blossoms themselves are flicked in with quick stabs of the brush, which in places give them something of the effect of flames; in the upper, lavender ones, small whirling effects are set up. The play of stems and the ragged yellowish clusters help create the irregularity that Renoir loved.