Tree Roses/Giverny

Carolyn Brady

American, 1937 - 2005

Tree Roses/Giverny, 1989

  • Not On View

Watercolor on paper

Dimensions: 51 1/4 × 76 1/2 in. (130.2 × 194.3 cm)
Framed: 60 × 85 1/4 in. (152.4 × 216.5 cm)

Museum purchase in memory of Kathryn Chambers, 1989.69

Carolyn Brady is considered one of the most important watercolorists of the 20th century. Like other masters of this lush but unforgiving medium whom she admired, Charles Demuth and Charles Burchfield among them, Brady found inspiration both in nature and in her immediate surroundings. Brady studied art in the late fifties, graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a B.F.A. in 1959 and an M.F.A. in 1961, and along with most of the artists of her generation was taught to paint abstractly. Though she went on to develop a distinct representational style, she nevertheless continued to see painting through an abstract lens. "I'm always making a synthesis of realism and abstraction," she once noted, "coming to abstraction by illusionistic means."In the late eighties, Brady turned her attention to landscape, inspired both by her garden in Maine and a visit to France. She also heightened the spatial play in her paintings, often juxtaposing close-ups of flowers or objects with a background landscape. Certainly, a direct result of her visit to Monet's beautiful gardens at Giverny was this painting’s inspiration. It is interesting that Brady chose to focus not on the water lilies for which Monet is best known, but instead painted the roses. On the other hand, the formal layout, in which the roses float against the background, is compositionally very much like Monet's lily ponds. Although the viewer may approach Brady's work as a window onto the world, it also has a connection to the various art that has preceded it, from Impressionist to Abstract Expressionism.

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