Flowers in a Basket
Jean Louis Prévost Botanical Print
Flowers in a Basket
detail
Jean Louis Prévost (c. 1760- after 1810) (manner of)
Flowers in a Basket
Paris: 19th Century
Color-printed stipple engraving
12.75 x 16.5 inches, overall
10.5 x 14.5 inches, plate mark
$550

Decorative botanical study of softly-colored roses, flowers, and foliage arranged as a still life in a woven basket on a ledge.  This print is unsigned, though examples are known of similar compositions by Jean Louis Prévost during the golden age of French botanical illustration in the early 19th century.   For example, there is an extremely similar print of flowers in a basket on a ledge in the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, illustrated in a book of the collection (Item 50) as well as one of fruit in a basket (Item 51). Those prints are engraved by A. Legrand and A.P. Teillard respectively. This print, unlike those in the Hunt collection, does not have the artist's or engraver's name printed in the lower margin.

Jean-Louis Prévost was a painter of landscapes and flowers; and frequently worked in watercolor.  Born in Nointel, France, he was a student of Bachelier and a member of a circle of painters associated with the great botanical artist Gerrit van Spaendonck.  He was a member of the Academy of Saint-Luc, exhibiting paintings of flowers and fruits there from 1791 to 1810, and he also exhibited at the Academie Royale.  His works are in the collection of a number of French museums.  His best known work is the Collection des Fleurs et des Fruits.  A series of Cahiers de Fleurs dessineés d’aprés Nature after Prévost and engraved by A. Legrand was issued in the first quarter of the 19th Century.  Prints based on paintings by Prévost were separately issued as well, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, some bound in composite sets of prints by various makers. 

An original Prévost botanical watercolor, and three Prévost botanical prints are in the collection of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are illustrated and described in a book of the collection.  According to authors Brindle and White, Prévost's still life images (specifically flowers and fruit in baskets in the Hunt collection) "reflect a characteristically French trend away from Baroque extravagance and toward casual informality."

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning and scattered wear. Some minor marginal tears, soft creases, minor loss to upper left corner professionally repaired as rebacked on oriental paper.

References:

Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs.  France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 5, p. 484 (Legrand); Vol. 7, p. 22 (Prévost).

Brindle, John V. and White, James J. Flora Portrayed. Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 1985.  p. 48.

Dunthorne, Gordon. Flower and Fruit Prints of the 18th and Early 19th Centuries. Their History, Makers and Uses, with a Catalogue Raisonne of the Works in Which They are Found. Washington, D.C.: Published by the Author, 1938.  p. 229.

McKee, George D.  “The Image of France.”  ARTFL Project.  August 2002.  http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/ARTFL/projects/mckee/ (4 May 2005).

Nissen, Claus. Die Botanische Buchillustration: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart:1951-66.  1568.

Pritzel, Georg August. Thesaurus Literaturae Botanicae Omnium Gentium. Milan: 1950.  7332.

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Great Flower Books, 1700-1900. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.  p. 127.

Stafleu, Frans A. and Richard S.Cowan. Taxonomic Literature. Utrecht: 1967. 2nd ed., Utrecht: 1976-1988.  TL2 8319.