Paul de Longpre Sweet Pea Print Victorian. This wonderful print of Summer sweet peas is by the French Victorian watercolorist, Paul de Longpre (see photograph and biography). It is very scarce, and showcases several shades of glorious pink hued sweet peas, stuffed to overflowing in a half vase. The colors in this one are just incredible, vivid and unfaded. This print, entitled Sweet Peas, was made in 1894 by the J Ottmann Lithographic Company of New York, and was an Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 5, 1894. It is a chromolithograph, and the color layers align in perfect register. This print comes from the personal collection of Nancy C. Hall, the author of the book The Life and Art of Paul de Longpre. It is autographed on the back by Nancy, stating it is from her personal collection.
This print is housed in a vintage burnished gold gesso over wood frame. It has ornate corner embellishments, and an acanthus pattern along the inside edge. The print is in VG condition with a few light roll marks at the top, hardly seen, but mentioned for accuracy. The frame is also in VG condition, and both display handsomely. Overall size is aprox 16.5 x 19.25 inches, ready to hang. Please disregard any whitish glass glare lines in the photos, they are not wrinkles. The background is not as blue as shown, but more of a muted green as in the first photograph. Paul de Longpre biography:
Paul de Longpré (b. 1855, d. 1911), a French Victorian flower painter, was born in Villeurbanne, France (a suburb of Lyon). He was self-taught at a young age, favoring the little daisy and La France hybrid rose. De Longpre exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon, but eventually lost most of his money in a bank collapse. He then emigrated to the United States in 1890, living in New York.
In an age when many artists were painting oils on dark, moody canvasses, de Longpre gained fame with his cheery, bright watercolor studies through a New York exhibition in the dead of winter. He eventually moved to Hollywood in 1899 where flowers were more plentiful year round, and befriended many influential residents and politicians. There he built a palatial Moorish style mansion, which became quite a large tourist attraction, and gleaned the coveted first stop on the famous Balloon Route Excursion. Tourists would walk from the rail cars into his rose garden, where they could enjoy his 3,000 rose bushes in full bloom, tour the mansion, and also buy original watercolor paintings.
De Longpre was one a very few artists who gained recognition and fame during his lifetime, and he was quite successful, parlaying his paintings into many different 1890’s media, such as: chromolithographic prints, celluloid mirror and photo albums, sheet music, shaving mirrors, seed and perfume displays, as well as using the studies for countless advertising prints. He died at the young age 56, from tuberculosis, a common malady at that time, after a long battle with an ear infection. He was survived by his three daughters, none of whom had children. His wife Josephine, and his daughter Pauline moved back to France after the mansion was sold, and in 1925, the mansion was demolished to make room for new bungalow housing. His watercolor paintings and chromolithograph prints are his greatest legacy, and are highly sought after.