Pale, rounded, opalescent vase of red and blue anemones. Horizontal bands of ochre, terracotta and grey lower third of canvas. Upper two thirds of canvas pearly grey background.
Verso black brush point (in artist's hand) Flora Scales 1960
Verso ballpoint pen on right tacked edge (not in artist's hand) Tableau offert a son filleul, Boris Kalachnikoff. Titre: Les Anemones
Title given by artist to the original owner, Boris Kalachnikoff, who remembers the work being painted at Bry-sur-Marne, France.
B. Kalachnikoff letter to B. de Lange, 17.05.1985, suggests this painting and Port of Mousehole at Sunset [BC026] might have been made at the same time, in the 1940s, but the verso inscription in the artist's hand does not bear this out.
Correspondence B. Kalachnikoff to B. de Lange, 17.05.1985, “The difficulty in painting a vase with flowers is to integrate the vase into the whole. One can feel here that the artist is resolving the problem after much thought and has been able to control the effect of the whole by progressing slowly, patiently, deliberately. The transparency of the vase is also a rare effect, supported by the deep colour of the two violet anemones (Flora showed me how Vermeer of Delft in a painting treated the reds differently to avoid the repetition of two colours). However if the vase is well integrated into the ensemble, the flowers stand out as if placed in front of the background...
Flora is a colourist, but in this period I sometimes regretted that the colour was fainter in comparison with the periods of audacious colour like the large Les Eucalyptus [BC123].
Although these paintings have not very spectacular colours, they are among her most structured and plasticly the best balanced." [The other paintings to which Kalachnikoff refers here are Les Anenomes [BC048] and Port of Mousehole at Sunset] [BC026].
Excerpt from An accompanied solitude, an essay by Boris Kalachnikoff, January 1991, “ In the Anemones [Les Anemones [BC048]], Flora succeeds in including the vase and the flowers (which is not easy) by fragmentation of the vase.
However, the big step of abstraction is not crossed (which is not necessarily desirable). In fact, the vase and the flowers are independent as if added on to the background, without falling into any of these systematic effects of those who are nostalgic for realism and flirt with abstraction.
However, the horizontal surfaces in the anemones are out of line and reply to a plastic necessity.
Many artists have gone astray by systematically wanting to conciliate realism and abstraction which falls into a repetitive process, a systematic adapting engenders monotony without any real calling into question.
Nothing of this with Flora, where every still-life and certain landscapes set her new plastic problems to which she replies differently each time.
An abstract construction, pushed to the extreme, is going to lead to pure abstraction with its aspirations of cosmic space, of spirituality, of the universal.
Abstraction, thus considered, becomes a metaphysical result."
An accompanied solitude, an essay by Boris Kalachnikoff (January 1991), kindly translated from French by Jenny Kotlarevsky
Photos by Sam Hartnett