Chrysanthemums and French painters

They have no fragrance, but they are among the last flowers of the season. Imports from China, symbols of imperial Japan, blossoms of gold, flowers of the dead, they are one of my favorites. I am not alone, of course, and they have inspired painters, in particular in France.

Let’s begin with James Tissot, who captures here their variety of shape and color:


Chrysanthemums, by James Tissot

Renoir, of course, left us the most brilliant images of these flowers:


Chrysanthemums, by Auguste Renoir

Now we can’t speak of 19th century painting without mentioning the grand master of Impressionism, Claude Monet, can we?


Chrysanthemums, by Claude Monet

And we will conclude with Chrysanthemums and Bee, by the great Hokusai. But wait, will you say, Hokusai was not French! Well, no, but this print belonged to Monet’s extensive collection of Japanese woodblock prints. Which is in my opinion a good enough excuse to include this beautiful work in this post…

chrysanthemums and bee-Hokusai

Chrysanthemums and Bee, by Hokusai

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8 Comments to “Chrysanthemums and French painters”

  1. Jen says:

    Beautiful! I love the Hokusai … I’m a sucker for woodblocks :)

  2. Thanks to all for liking my post! I must say it was fun to put together these gorgeous images, Impressionistic and beyond.
    Miss M, your tastes are duly noted… No, as far as I know red and white carnation bouquets are all right in France. Carnations are lovely blossoms, and their fragrance is heavenly, I don’t care for the plant itself, except in dwarf varieties. About the association of white and red, they are both power colours, so I understand the mix may be overwhelming. I like it myself.
    What I love with chrysanthemums are the big colourful bushes they make. I will always mourn the pink-orangey one I had in California (grown from a 4-inch pot into a small tree.)

  3. Miss Moppet says:

    I like chrysanthemums more in these images than I do in real life. They have no graveyard connotations in the UK and yet I’ve never been fond of them. I’m not fond of white lilies either, because they remind me of funeral flowers. My favourite flowers are roses, daffodils and freesias, but I prefer a bouquet to be all one colour rather than mixed. So I’m pretty fussy really.

    Some people don’t like red and white carnations together – neither do I frankly on aesthetic grounds, but they’re supposed to be unlucky – they reminded people of blood and bandages in the First World War. Is this also the case in France?

  4. My introduction to French impressionism came first through music (i.e., Debussy, Ravel, Satie) before I realized that these magnificent paintings were part of the same, contemporaneous movement. Of course, Debussy (ironically) did not consider himself to be part of impressionism, and famously referred to music critics who attached the term to him as “imbeciles.”

  5. Inspired and beautiful post, and you couldn’t get more seasonal than this, could you?

  6. Penny says:

    Lovely and the Tissot looks so lifelike I may hang it under the Eiffel Tower clock in the living room. I love the impressionists thanks for the share.

  7. LoveHistory says:

    Beautiful paintings! I love Monet and Renoir. Have to say of these the Monet is my favorite.

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