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Flowers in a Glass Vase, 1704

  • Rachel Ruysch, Dutch, 1664-1750

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 33 × 26 3/8 inches (83.8 × 67 cm)
  • 42 1/2 × 35 1/2 × 2 3/4 inches (108 × 90.2 × 7 cm)

Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund, New Endowment Fund, Henry Ford II Fund, Ralph McElvenny Memorial Fund, Walter and Josephine Ford II Fund, Benson and Edith Ford Fund, Walter B. Ford Memorial Fund, Lenora and Alfred Glancy Foundation Fund, Josephine and Ernest Kanzler Fund, J. Lawrence Buell, Jr. Fund, European Painting General Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Sachs II, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Hudson, Jr. Fund, William H. Murphy Fund, Octavia W. Bates Fund, Director's Discretionary Fund, Popular Subscription Fund and funds from Edgar Martimer, Warren J. Coville, George Strombos, Founders Junior Council, Helmut Stern Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Alan E. Schwartz, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Shelden, Geraldine Schafer, Allan D. Gilmour, Faustyn Tate, Friends of Art and Flowers, Alice Kales Hartwick Foundation, Beverly Prentis Wagner, Women's Committee, Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Gillis, Jr., Byron and Dorothy Gerson, Mort Harris, Mandel Berman, Marvin and Betty Danto, Lynn and Stanley Day, Margaret H. Demant, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Wyett, J. Michael Losh, Volunteer Committee, Mrs. Lester Morris, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Bianco, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. George Keyes, Bonita and John Fike, Amanda Van Dusen, Museum Shops Volunteer Committee, Ruth Rattner, Dorothy Cartwright, Mr. and Mrs. William S. Fay, anonymous donors, Maryanne Gibson, Helen Gamburd, Wendy Evans, Jerry Earles Florist, Inc., Fifi A. and George J. Kushner, Jr., in memory of Mary Dowd Schmidt; gifts from Mr. and Mrs. James E. Scripps, Ralph Harman Booth, Edward Chandler Walker, Mrs. Laura B. Higbie, Edward F. Fisher, Anna Scripps Whitcomb, Alfred J. Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. George Munroe Endicott, Mr. and Mrs. Sol Eisenberg, Colonel Frank J. Hecker, Peter Monaghan, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence P. Fisher, Mrs. William E. Scripps, William H. Thomson, Mortimer Brandt, Claire MacDonald Church, Lydia Kahn Winston Malbin, Mrs. Russell A. Alger, Gustave Volterra, Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Wilkinson, John S. Newberry, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar B. Whitcomb, Mr. and Mrs. James S. Whitcomb, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Field, Estate of Mrs. Alice G. Otis, Mrs. Henry Patten and Marc T. Patten, and City of Detroit, by exchange


On View

  • Dutch Golden Age S380


European Painting

Ruysch composed this bouquet entirely from her imagination. Floral bouquets such as this one never actually existed because these flowers do not bloom at the same time. Consulting precisely executed drawings of individual flowers, she constructed this imaginary arrangement in a manner that is astonishingly realistic down to each flower, insect, and dew drop. Flowers are age-old symbols of beauty and for Ruysch they also manifest God's creativity in the world of nature. As they are also fragile and quickly perish, flowers also symbolize mortality, decay, and death. Even in their beauty, Ruysch's flowers contain insects that initiate this inevitable course of destruction. Ruysch was famous in her own lifetime. She painted still-lifes such as this one for wealthy and discriminating collectors, who used this kind of painting as a focal point in their private picture galleries.

Signed and dated at bottom right on ledge: Rachel Ruysch 1704

Signed and dated at bottom right on ledge: Rachel Ruysch 1704

Presumably acquired by James West [1703–1772] of Alscot House (Preston on Stour, Warwickshire, United Kingdom). 1795, by descent to James West [1775–1838]

1838, by descent to James Roberts West [b. 1812]

by descent to James Alston-Roberts West [1845–1918]

1918, by descent to Harry Charles John Alston-Roberts West [1872–1931]

1931, by descent to Captain William Reginald James Alston-Roberts West [1900–1940]

1940, by descent to James William Alston-Roberts West [b. 1935]

July 6, 1994, sold at (Sotheby's, London) to (Johny van Haeften) (London, United Kingdom)

1995, purchased by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA).

Hofstede de Groot, C., Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten hollandischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts, vol. X. Stuttgart, 1928, p. 323, no. 73. Grant, M. H. Rachel Ruysch 1664–1750. Leigh-on-Sea, 1956, p. 30, no. 56. The Treasure Houses of Great Britain—Five hundred Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1985, pp. 368-369, cat. 298 (ill.). Old Master Paintings. Sales cat., Sotheby's, London, July 6, 1994, pp. 52–54, no. 30 (ill.). Inaugural Exhibition of Old Master Paintings. Exh. cat., Otto Naumann, Ltd., New York, 1995, pp. 137–140, no. 31 (ill.). Buijsen, E. Haagse Schilders in de Gouden Eeuw (Het Hoogsteder Lexicon van all schilders werkzaam in Den Haag 1600-1700). The Hague, 1998, p.343, repr. Berardi, M. “Florale distinctie en detaillering De receptuur van Rachel Ruysch.” Kunstschrift 44, no. 1 (2000): 4-15. Keyes, George S. et al. Masters of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2004, pp. 212–215, no. 87 (ill.). Keyes, G.S. "A Brief History of the European Paintings Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts with a Focus on the Dutch School.” Catalogue for TEFAF Maastricht (2005): 10-15, p. 15 (ill.). The Temptations of Flora: Jan van Huysum/1682-1749. Exh. cat., Museum Het Prinsenhof. Delft, 2007, pp. 307–308, no. C1 (ill.).

Rachel Ruysch, Flowers in a Glass Vase, 1704, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund, Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund, et al.,1995.67.