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 Museum 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 Josephine and Queen Marie-Amelie and was also an engraver, a publisher and a teacher.
Redouté is inextricably linked to Josephine and her passion for flowers and botany. It is thanks to his drawings that we know the botanical species that Josephine prized in her two gardens at Malmaison and Navarre (the property in normandy given to her by Napoleon in 1809 following their divorce), he produced four richly-illustrated albums for her including Description des Plantes Rares cultivées à Malmaison et à Navarre. Josephine also owned two table services with botanical decorations after Redouté’s flower designs. A 116-piece dessert service was put into production by Alexandre Brogniart of the Manufactury of Sevres, of which eighty reproduced designs from three of Redouté’s albums for Josephine: Lilacés; Jardin de la Malmaison; and Histoire des Plantes Grasses.
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…) will be presented in a hanging renewed over three “seasons” because of their fragility.
As a pendant, Ateliers d’Art de France showcases a fine crafts exhibition in the permanent collections and the garden of the musée de la Vie Romantique. 26 contemporary artists will illustrate the vitality of the naturalist flower motif today.
This exhibition is organised in partnership with the Museum National d’Histoire naturelle and co-organised with Ateliers d’Art de France.
Press release in French.
Full price: 8 €
Reduced price: 6 €
Free: up to and including 17 years old