STILL LIFE OF WHITE FLOWERS
Oil on Canvas
28 x 36 Inches
Signed Lower Right
Over a long and storied career, Cecil Kennedy exhibited widely and with great success, including at London's Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy. He also exhibited in France, and was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Salon in 1956 and the gold medal in 1970. For over six decades, he collaborated with his wife, Winifred Ayers, who created the exquisitely detailed and balanced flower arrangements that the artist immortalized in his paintings.
Beginning in the 1950’s, Kennedy's work was championed by London's Fine Art Society (est. 1876) where he exhibited regularly, and where this painting was originally shown. During his long career, the artist acquired numerous influential patrons, including Queen Elizabeth II, who presented Prince Charles and Princess Diana with a Cecil Kennedy still-life for their wedding present in 1981. In addition, Queen Mary, the Duke of Windsor and the Astor’s became loyal clients. Queen Mary once said of his work, “When I see Cecil Kennedy’s pictures I can smell the flowers and hear the hum of the bees.” It was she who admired a particular ladybird that the artist had painted on the stem of a flower after which Kennedy always incorporated a ladybird into his still-lives.
Justly celebrated for his minutely-detailed paintings of flowers , Kennedy is widely regarded as the finest 20th-century British painter of floral still-lives. Frequently juxtaposing modern and exotic hybrid blooms with traditional English flowers and grasses, he also incorporates plant species celebrated in the work of the Dutch Old Masters. Kennedy was an erudite horticulturalist and his use of all-white flower arrangements, as seen in this elegant example, reflected an awareness of such 20th-century innovations such as Vita Sackville-West’s White Garden at Sissinghurst.
We are pleased to offer one of the largest and finest still-lives to come on the market in recent years. This elegant work exemplifies Kennedy's mature style and shows the artist at the height of his powers.
E. Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs, Jacques Busse, 1999 Nouvelle Édition, Gründ 1911, Vol. 7, p. 755-756; et al.
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