ARNOLDUS BLOEMERS (1792–1844)
Still Life of Peonies, Roses, Honeysuckle, Poppies, and other Flowers
Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in.
Signed (with monogram, at lower left): AB
The present picture demonstrates the source of Bloemers’ enduring popularity. A profusion of peonies, honeysuckle, and poppies share the confines of a terracotta urn sitting on a table top. Pink roses rest at the base of the urn, balanced on the edge of the table. Peter Mitchell, in his essential book, Great Flower Painters: Four Centuries of Floral Art (1973), attaches the stylistic label “Rococo” to the work of van Huysum. That label is equally useful in considering Bloemers’ relation to the tradition. If van Huysum is rococo, then Bloemers goes more in a Neo-Classical direction. His flowers are precisely painted, but have a lightness about them that makes his arrangement seem “modern” compared to van Huysum or even van Os. Set against a neutral, light color background, Bloemers’ flowers seem almost to float on the canvas.