Wild Roses and Irises

Artist: John La Farge (American, New York 1835–1910 Providence, Rhode Island)

Date: 1887

Medium: Gouache and watercolor on white wove paper

Dimensions: 14 1/2 x 10 7/16 in. (36.8 x 26.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of Priscilla A. B. Henderson, in memory of her grandfather, Russell Sturgis, a founder of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1950

Accession Number: 50.113.3


When La Farge painted flowers in oil during the 1860s, he preferred to capture their essence rather than to pursue scientific accuracy. The superb floral watercolors that he painted in the 1880s recall his earlier oils, but their rich color bespeaks his mastery of the watercolor medium and their decorative vitality reflects his experiments in stained glass. An astute critic remarked, "His flowers have no botanical truth, but are burning with love and beauty."