Description In about 1863, Bonvin began to paint still-lifes portraying informal arrangements of commonplace flowers, vegetables, and kitchen implements. In this instance, on the tabletop partly covered by a white cloth, there are three heads of celery, some parsley, several garlic bulbs, and various utensils including a knife, a cruet set, a pestle and mortar, and a faience bowl. The same combination of kitchen implements, particularly the knife extending over the table's edge, and the cloth with clearly defined folds, figured in the still-lifes of Bonvin's older half brother François at this time and was also dominant in Manet's paintings of the mid-1860s. These works adhered to a tradition that can be traced to the still-lifes of Chardin and ultimately to Dutch 17th-century precedents. Distinctive of Léon Bonvin's approach was the humble nature of the fare. Philippe Burty recalls that Bonvin, compelled to paint at night, frequently drew his still-lifes using a lamp enclosed in a box with a small opening as a light source, a practice that sometimes imparted a slightly acid color to the greens (Burty, "Léon Bonvin," in "Harpers New Monthly Magazine," 75, January 1886: 37-51). In this drawing, the artist's obsession with detail is clearly manifested in his treatment of the intricate mass of the celery roots. He often outlined the forms in ink and then applied colored washes.
|6/20/1979||Examination||examined for loan|
|9/02/1980||Examination||examined for exhibition|
|1/01/2002||Treatment||examined for exhibition; other|
- The Drawings and Watercolors of Léon Bonvin. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980-1981.
- The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore, by puchase, 1872 (through George A. Lucas as agent) ; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.  A watercolor by Bonvin matching this description was sold at the Hotel Drouot, Paris, on 9 February 1872 (see "Catalogue de tableaux, aquarelles et dessins, anciens et modernes formant la collection de M. E. A.," p. 39). Lucas records in his diary entry for that day, "At Hotel & bought two Bonvins for Walters - 170.40 fs" (see Randall, Diaries of George A. Lucas, vol. 2, p. 356)
Inscriptions [Signature] In graphite, lower left: Leon Bonvin; [Signature and date] In iron gall ink, lower right: Léon Bonvin, 1865; [Number] On verso album page (secondary suport): C4 and 20
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, 1872
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License