Alfred Riocreux (French, 1820-1912), Magnolia Lenné
Alfred Riocreux (French, 1820-1912)
Watercolor and pencil on paper
Signed and inscribed: A.Rx, Magnolia Lainé
Inscription lower center: Bon a reproduire / 27 avril 66 / J.a. Zane Sèvres, 1866
Trained by his father, a landscape painter who frequently worked for the renowned Sèvres porcelain manufacturer, Alfred Riocreux distinguished himself in botanical painting to such an extent that his work was exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon in 1837, 1838, and 1855. In 1870, he was bestowed perhaps the greatest official distinction that a French artist could hope to receive, becoming a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Rather than relocate to Paris, then the center of the French and, in fact, the international art scene, Riocreux remained in his native Sèvres, painting flowers for the porcelain company as had his father, quietly but decisively gaining a high degree of recognition and acclaim.
In 1866, the noted botanical artist Alfred Riocreux painted this elegant watercolor of a magnolia at the fullest point in its bloom. With no background to detract from the visual impact of the flowers themselves, the magnolias are rendered with vivid naturalism, appearing to emerge from the page. Full and rounded, the fragile petals appear almost translucent, lined with delicate veins of scarlet and mauve, gracefully curving upwards and in towards each other. This striking watercolor served as the prototype for a chromolithograph published in the Paris journal Revue Horticole, a publication geared towards gardeners and botanical enthusiasts.
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