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The Little Flower Seller

Oil on panel
12” x 14”

Andre Henri Dargelas
French 1828 – 1906

Born in Bordeaux in 1823, Andre Henri Dargelas was a painter of genre. As a young man, he made his way to Paris, and in 1854, he was admitted to Ecole des Beaux Arts. There he studied with the successful academic master, Francois Picot, who instructed his pupils in a neoclassical style of painting. Within three years, Dargelas began exhibiting at the annual Salon exhibition, creating compositions that demonstrated his mastery.

Andre Henri Dargelas later settled in the little art colony of Ecouen, a town eight miles from Paris. It was here that he evolved his new school and produced the quaint interiors and life-like figures, especially of children. He painted his subjects in a variety of situations, ranging from the schoolroom to the family dinner table, and it is these works that have made his name so famous. He chose not so much to lyricise rural life, as to momentalise it and he found a ready market in the new Bourgeoisie, bringing him both artistic and commercial success.

The Little Flower Seller is a wonderful example of Dargelas’ work. The scene captures a moment in time, set in the comfortable kitchen of a French house. The open door of the mahogany dresser reveals fine porcelain china plates and jars of preserves line the bottom shelf. Brass and pewter candlesticks shine on the mantle piece of the open fire. A mother is preparing a light lunch of bread and jam for her young children, while one of the boys is busy scraping the remnants of the copper jam pan. The children are beautifully dressed with laced leather boots, the girls in pretty dresses and white lace bonnets and the boys in smart jackets. A young girl waits patiently at the side of the room with a basket of flowers over her arm hoping, to sell her wares. In contrast she is wearing wooden clogs on her feet, a patterned shawl over her drab dress and a simple black hat. The focal point of the painting is the mother and her children and emphasising this, Dargelas has deliberately chosen to illuminate the family with the light from the open door and contrasting them with the young flower seller quietly waiting in the shadows. This is Dargelas at his very best, a beautiful composition, clever use of light and shade, fine brushwork and great attention to detail.

© Sutcliffe Galleries 2022


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