Famous Flower Paintings

Posted on May 13, 2010

Flowers are often popular subject matter in fine art.  The complexity and beauty of flowers make them a technical challenge to paint for even the most skilled artist.  Flowers accompany important life events and are cross cultural.  They symbolize nature, the figure, and most often carry with them emotional expression of every kind.  The variety of shapes, color, hue, and meaning associated with flowers provide a subject matter that is timeless and engaging.  The most famous flower paintings embody all of these things.  Most notably, flower art paintings range from realistic depictions to a mere impression of the flower all the way to pure abstraction, according any artist the ability to make them unique to their style.  It is some of the most famous flower paintings that we often take for granted. Famous flower painting by Georgia O'Keefe Calla Lillies from 1923

Flower Art Paintings that are Timeless

Claude Monet and many of the impressionists adored painting flowers.   The visible brush strokes and emphasis on the changing qualities of light as time passes were all important to the impressionists.  Flowers provided a means to experiment with the change in light and how it affects the color of the flowers. Flowers as commonplace objects, could be utilized to enhance the affect of movement on the viewers perception. Flower Art Painting by Claude Monet, The Artists Garden at Giverny from 1900

Monet created a home garden to ensure that he had a bounty of flowers to paint for his now famous flower paintings.  One can imagine how beautiful these gardens would have been based on the stunning art paintings of flowers that were derived from them.  The randomness of flowers in nature allowed for the juxtaposition and spontaneity of color.  At the same time, flower art paintings could take the accidental and allow individual objects to merge.  It is only flowers in these famous art paintings that could create a composition of color relationships and tie it to an emotional response to nature. Vincent Van Gogh made sunflower paintings that were uniquely his own.  This series of famous flower paintings were so important to Van Gogh and were painted at what is considered an optimistic time in the artist’s life.  He chose sunflowers because of their vivid color and the emotional expression of happiness that is associated with yellow.  In each flower art painting, the sunflower has its own personality, ranging from the bulbous and unattractive, to the lively and alluring.  The sunflowers were an object that he could control and manipulate into the expressions he needed.  In addition, they lent themselves well to Van Gogh’s obsession with contrasting colors.  The most famous flower paintings from this series are the ones where the sunflowers, yellow and bright are set against a contrasting blue background.  As he experimented further with these flower art paintings, his interest changed to the effects of light on light – contrast became diminished  and the yellow sunflowers were set against yellow, or light backgrounds.  These famous flower paintings held an even closer meaning to Van Gogh.  They were painted to adorn the room where his good friend Paul Gaughin was to stay.  For Van Gogh, the flowers symbolized their friendship. Art Paintings of Flowers by Vincent Van Gogh Vase with Twelve Sunflowers from 1889

Georgia O’Keefe is probably most famous for her art paintings of flowers.  She loved the sensual nature of the flowers and their ability to express emotion.  As an abstract artist that focused on representation, flowers lent themselves perfectly to O’Keefe style.  The color shifts between heavily contrasted, sharp edges, to subtle, delicate and subdued tones could only be achieved through an intricate study of flowers.  In particular, the flower palette of the rural Southwest was a huge inspiration to O’Keefe and her famous flower paintings give the sense of the landscape of that area.  She used flowers to convey sensations in the most authentic way.  Her flower art paintings are, of course, suggestive of the human anatomy, but more importantly, by creating oversized close-ups of flowers, she was able to use the intricacy of the flowers to reflect on the importance of relationship of nature to humankind. Oil Painting of Flowers by Georgia O'Keefe Music Pink and Blue II from 1919

Art Paintings of Flowers Brought to Life

The universal meaning and appeal of flowers makes them a subject matter for art that is enduring.  While flower art paintings bring a lasting feeling that flowers can give into a space, like most things in life, there is nothing like the real thing.  Nothing can beat the scent of fresh flowers.  So while you hang that famous flower painting on your wall, also remember to bring color and light into your home or office space with real flower arrangements. Famous flower paintings used to create a perfect floral arrangements of roses and streaming pink flowers

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