Vintage Art Appreciation: Paris - The Flower Market on the Île de la Cité by Louis Marie de Schryver

The Flower Market on the Île de la Cité
by Louis Marie de Schryver (1862–1942)

About the artist: Louis Marie de Schryver was born in Paris on October 12, 1862. The son of a well-respected journalist, he was raised in the privileged upper class of French society.As a member of the upper class himself, de Schryver was no doubt innately familiar with the leisure activities of the fashionable women of Paris that would become his subject matter. Among the many changes to daily life in the waning years of the 19th century was the increasing visibility of women outside the home.

About the painting: Both the chic women strolling the boulevards to show off their modish new dresses and hats and the young women selling flowers and staffing the cafés and boutiques in the fashionable areas of town were taking advantage of new freedoms that would not have been available to them even a generation before.

The profusion of different flowers on offer is complimented by the artist’s skillful rendering of the backlit pink parasol of the woman in the background and the play of light on the layered light-yellow ribbons on the hat of the woman in the foreground, as these elements echo the shape and color palette of the flowers themselves. The horse-drawn carriage passing in the background gives the painting a charmingly anecdotal, observed quality which is a hallmark of the artist’s best work.

Source of image and description: Christie's