[Flowers in a Green Vase Placed on the Seat of a Chair]

Still life. Side of loosely indicated brown chair. Green narrow-necked vase placed on chair. Three shapes, two red/pink, one orange, to right of centre, with brush strokes of white between and around them. Upper canvas coloured, loosely formed shapes.

Other title(s)
Jar with Flowers, placed on chair
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
Auckland, New Zealand

LL blue brush point Helen Scales, 1974 (date barely legible)

Verso (not in artist's hand) study in her flat in Auckland, about 1974

Current Collection

Private Collection

Current Location

New Zealand

General notes

Verso information and date supplied by artist to the original owner, Patience Tennent, the artist's niece, in 1974.

Alternative title, Jar with Flowers, placed on chair, taken from the exhibition Flora Scales at The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, New Zealand, 2018.

Touches of blue paint on the frame, where the brush strokes of the signature and date end, suggest they were added by the artist after the canvas was framed.

This is a colour study in which the flowers, the round shapes which are perhaps fruit, the chair and vase are tonally integrated. Flowers seem to have dissolved into the background and the vase to have melted onto the chair seat. White brush strokes between and around the coloured fruit give a sense of space and stability to the deliquescence.


‘Becoming Modern: The paintings of Flora Scales’ by Jennifer Higgie, written for florascales.com, 2022

"In the minimal, intense Jar with Flowers [Untitled [Flowers in a Green Vase Placed on the Seat of a Chair] [BC079]] (1974), Scales clearly scratched into the picture’s surface, a lingering testament to her visceral commitment to mark-marking. Only the work’s title tethers it to a figurative realm. Nothing here is complacent: even in her old age, Scales was questioning assumptions, resisting simple solutions. She knew that each painting requires its own discovery."