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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)



ca. 1880

John La Farge

Born New York City, New York, 1835; died Providence, Rhode Island, 1910

Though we easily associate La Farge with grand decorative projects, like the magnificent peony-design window in the museum's collection, he is also admired for small still lifes such as this one.

This beautiful watercolor is representative of the kind of highly poetic still life work that La Farge created in other media-in oil painting and leaded glass. But as a watercolor, this still life is extraordinary for its delicacy. La Farge has painted the delicate flower forms as enchanting physical specimens, magical objects illuminated briefly for our last moment of enjoyment before they wither away.

Watercolor on paper
9 x 10 7/8 in. (22.9 x 27.6cm)
Partial and promised gift from a private collection
Provenance: Edward William Hooper 1839-1901), Boston, by April 1884-his death in 1901; by bequest to his daughter, Fanny Hooper Curtis (Mrs. Greely S. Curtis), Boston, 1901-her death in 1963; sold from her estate to an unspecified buyer; sold at an unidenified auction to [Brown Corbin Fine Art, Lincoln, Mass.], 1988; sold to donor, Jan. 22, 1989
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryBoston, Boston Art Club, Thirtieth Exhibition of the Boston Art Club, Water Colors and Works in Black and White, Apr. 12-May 10, 1884. Cat. no. 105 [as Roses, lent by E. W. Hooper].

{Boston, St. Botolph Club, Midwinter Exhibition, Jan. 27-Feb. 8, 1890. Cat. no. 39 [as Roses in an Old Chinese Bolwil, lent by E. W. Hooper]. }

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, John La Farge Memorial Exhibition, Jan. 1-31. No cat. [according to loan records, it was titled Roses and lent by Mrs. G. . Curtis].

Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, SAM at 75: Building a Collection for Seattle, May 5- Sept. 9, 2007. No catalogue.
Published References"The Art Club," Boston Daily Herald, Apr. 12, 1884: p. 8.

"The Watercolor Exhibition," Boston Evening Transcript, Apr. 18, 1884: p. 6.

Junker, Patricia. "America in the Artful Age," A Community of Collectors, Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2008; p. 193, reproduced pl. 163.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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