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Musée de la Vie romantique exhibits works by the "Raphael of flowers"
Eventail brisé composé de vingt brins retenus par un ruban, vers 1820, corne coupé, percée et peinte à la gouache, ruban de soie, œil en pierre orange, Paris, Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode © Françoise Cochennec/ Galliera/ Roger-Viollet.

PARIS.- Pierre-Joseph Redouté - often called the Raphael of Flowers - reached a zenith in flower painting, at the juncture between science and fine arts. He became a model, still celebrated today for the elegance and accuracy of his interpretation of the new flora that appeared in gardens between the end of the Ancien Regime and the first half of the 19th century.

Thanks to the generosity of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, the Musée de la Vie romantique is organising the first exhibition in France dedicated to Redouté and his influence. The botanical painter contributed to the golden era of natural science and worked with the greatest botanists of his time. He responded to their requirement of classification and identification of the plants collected over five continents – reproducing them in watercolour on precious vellums with unequaled scientific accuracy and artistic talent. He was appointed painter to Empress Joséphine and Queen Marie-Amélie and was also an engraver, a publisher and a teacher.

In an era of horticultural progress, with ladies studying the language of flowers, their bouquet holders, fans and jewelry all reflect the craze for botany. Wall hangings, court dress embroideries, wallpapers and porcelains testify to this passion for flowers brought to the highest levels by Redouté. A “Flower class” was created for the Lyon silk industry at the very beginning of the 19th century while a “Salon des Fleurs” honoured flower painting as a true pictorial genre.

More than 250 paintings, watercolours, art objects and vellums belonging to many French public collections (Musée du Louvre, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Musée de Grenoble, Musée Fabre de Montpellier…) are being presented in a hanging renewed over three “seasons” because of their fragility.

As a pendant, an exhibition in the permanent collections of the Musée de la Vie Romantique of thirty contemporary artists will showcase the vitality of the naturalist flower motif today, in collaboration with Ateliers d'Art de France.

This exhibition is organised in exceptional partnership with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. The contemporary part is co-organised with Ateliers d’Art de France.

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