Simon Saint-Jean

A vibrant bouquet

Oil on canvas: 32.5(h) x 24.5(w) in /

82.6(h) x 62.2(w) cm

Signed and dated lower left: Saint-Jean 1849

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BV 198

 

SIMON SAINT-JEAN

Lyon 1808 – 1860 Ecully, Lyon

 

A vibrant bouquet

 

Signed and dated lower left: Saint-Jean /1849

Oil on canvas: 32 ½ x 24 ½ in / 82.6 x 62.2 cm

Frame size: 39 ¾ x 31 ¾ in / 101 x 80.6 cm

 

Provenance:

Private collection, UK, circa 1900, then by descent;

private collection, Jersey, 1974, then by descent

 

 

In this vibrant bouquet, Simon Saint-Jean includes flowers of various seasons, spring tulips and wallflowers alongside summer roses, hollyhocks, a geum and a poppy, as well as the autumnal dahlia and aster. The beautiful display also features what we would now call wild flowers, such as the meadow geranium, redshanks and eyebright. Dutch Old Masters introduced the inclusion of delicate sprays of wild flowers to offset more glamorous blooms. The ‘very double pink’ centifolia rose was a highly prized old species of rose until more modern cultivars superseded it. In 1849 the creamy rose would be a more recent cultivar, and the red roses drooping out of the vase on the right may be China roses, which added a longer flowering habit when crossed with native European roses.

 

We are grateful to Dr Celia Fisher for the identification of flowers and commentary.

 

Simon Saint-Jean, Flowers and fruit, 1848

Oil on canvas: 90 x 72.5 cm

Wallace Collection, London

 

 

Key to flower diagram

 

1.       Rose                     Rosa centifolia and other cultivars

2.       Tulip                     Tulipa hybrid

3.       Hollyhock             Althaea rosea

4.       Wallflower            Cheiranthus cheiri

5.       Dahlia                   Dahlia hybrid

6.       Geum                   Geum chiloense

7.       Aster                     Callistephus chinensis

8.       Oriental Poppy     Papaver somniferum

9.       Hardy Geranium   Geranium pratense

10.   Eye bright             Euphrasia species, possibly nemorosa

11.   Redshanks or buckwheat  Fagopyrum esculentum

 

 

 

SIMON SAINT-JEAN

Lyon 1808 – 1860 Ecully, Lyon

 

Born in 1808, Simon Saint-Jean studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. Simon Saint-Jean was the pupil of Auguste Thierriat and François Lepage the Lyon painters. He became a textile designer in the 1820s for Didier Petit. In 1836, Saint-Jean established himself as a flower painter and taught flower design to a number of students. He exhibited Jeune fille portant des fleurs at the Salon of 1838 which was purchased by King Louis Phillippe. In 1843, he exhibited Guirlande autour de la Sainte-Vierge.

 

Saint-Jean exhibited at the Lyon Salon in 1827, 1828, 1831, 1833, 1836-59 and at the Paris Salon 1834-59. Saint-Jean won a third class medal at the Paris Salon in 1834 and third class medals in 1841 and 1855.

 

The work of Simon Saint-Jean in the Wallace Collection in London, the Louvre, Paris and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon.

 

 

Old MasterSimon Saint-Jean