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An Impossible Bouquet: Four Masterpieces by Jan van Huysum

Jan van Huysum (1682-1749) was the most revered Dutch still-life painter of the 18th century, a master of both accuracy and ingenuity. This display showcases four of his finest works illustrating the artist’s important role in the development of the flower still life.

But Van Huysum’s flower bouquets are illusions. Flowers in a Vase (pictured) contains over 30 different flowers, including many non-native species, which bloom at various times of year, making it impossible that they could have been seen together. To achieve such a bouquet, Van Huysum painted his works over the course of one or two years as the flowers came into season.

These exemplary paintings reaffirm the talents that made Van Huysum famous throughout Europe both during and beyond his lifetime.