Paul de Longpre

French, 1855 - 1911
A talented fleuriste, Paul de Longpre began his career in his native France, where he painted flower decorations on fans, first in Lyons and later in Paris. Although he is said to have studied briefly under Leon Bonnat and Jean-Leon Gerome in the French capital, he was basically a self-taught artist who drew inspiration directly from nature.

He began exhibiting watercolors of flowers at the Paris Salon in 1876 and did so intermittently until 1890, at which time he lost his savings in a bank failure and immigrated to New York. De Longpre worked in relative obscurity until 1895, when, on the occasion of a major exhibi-tion of his work at New York's American Art Galleries, a penman for Art Interchange hailed him as "America's foremost flower painter."

Two years later, a writer for the New York Times lauded his ability to combine mood and poetic effect with "the knowledge of a botanist and a marvelous fidelity in the reproduction of both form and color." De Longpre became so successful that in 1898 he decided to settle in California, building a lavish Moorish-Mission style villa in Hollywood.

He also cultivated a three-acre flower garden, which provided him with the fresh specimens he so loved to paint. De Longpre depicted a variety of blossoms, favoring simple, harmonious arrangements shown against unadorned backgrounds. His firm draftsmanship, sensitive colorism, and awareness of the symbolic language of flowers contributed to his immense popularity at the turn of the century.

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries,
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