Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Oil on canvas (lined), signed and dated 1899 at lower right, presented in the likely original Louis XV style gilt composition frame with gallery plaque.
Stretcher size 22 x 16 1/4 in.; Frame dimensions 34 x 28 in.
Louis Marie de Schryver was one of the youngest artists to exhibit in the 19th century Salons, beginning at the precocious age of thirteen. His early still life paintings matured into fashionable scenes of contemporary Paris, with bright bouquets of flowers serving as catalysts of connection between the wealthy and working class.
By the late 19th century, De Schryver was moving away from scenes of contemporary life to those of 18th century Paris. This redirection reflected the Rococo Revival taste of the Belle Époque. The present painting dates to the cusp of this transition.
Flower Girl, Old Paris is a particularly intriguing composition. As with many of De Schryver’s genre paintings, it is a visual feast of technique and color. However, this painting calls for a more nuanced reading. Unlike many of his previous paintings, the flower seller is a fresh-faced young girl. While her clothing is of a more humble origin, fine pink silk heels and white stockings are visible below her raised hem. The woman wistfully gazing at the girl’s flower basket, richly attired in luminous silks and lace, appears caught between two worlds.
In a way, all of these characters are caught in a perilously suspended moment of time. Their physical surroundings capture the great upheaval facing Paris in the late 18th and 19th centuries. A medieval half-timber building in the foreground makes way towards a wide boulevard lined by impressive Neoclassical edifices. The viewer cannot help but notice the street clock, looming above the entire vignette. Facing the dawn of a new century himself, these themes of change and transformation were especially relevant to De Schryver and his patrons.
Stable craquelure; some yellowing to varnish; very minor area of loss to composition at upper right corner of frame. No evidence of retouch visible under UV light.
$20,000 - 40,000