French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) was one of the greatest creative figures of the nineteenth century. Coming of age after the fall of Napoleon, he reconnected the present to the past on his own terms. Delacroix produced an extraordinarily vibrant body of work, setting into motion a cascade of innovations that changed the course of art.
In September of 1848, social and political unrest in Paris led Delacroix to retreat to his country house in Champrosay. There, he undertook this flower paining and four others, which he intended to exhibit at the next year’s Salon. The present example, Basket of Flowers (1848-49) is a rare hybrid in Delacroix’s work of still life and pure landscape. Falling from the basket are dahlias, rudbeckias, daisies, nasturtiums and roses. The arch is a typical white morning glory or moonflower, which appears to be invading a shrub with flowers arranged incense, fat clusters, possibly elderberry. On the left are elephant head amaranth, with a variety of Centaurea (perhaps cornflowers) beneath.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Delacroix, on View Through January 6th, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum Art in NYC.