Robert Louis Raymond Duflos (French, born 1898)
Green Vase with White and Red Carnations
Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 18 1/8 in.
DM 216

Active in France in the 20th century, Duflos was a member of the Salon des Artistes Français, the Société de Artistes Indépendants, and the Société Nationale, exhibiting with those institutions regularly between 1925 and 1950. His oeuvre covers a range of genres, but the majority of his images are dedicated to the motif of the female nude. Duflos created numerous pastels depicting nude women, seated or reclining on a cloth-draped sofa, who gaze at their reflection in a gilt mirror, read, lounge in contemplation, or look directly at the viewer.

In addition to nude studies, Duflos also created portraits, landscapes, marine paintings, and floral still lifes such as Green Vase with White and Red Carnations, depicting a pale-green vase filled with red, white, and pink carnations before a neutral background. Flower painting had been practiced since the 17th century, when such images became popular in the Netherlands. In early floral painting, each flower held a rich symbolic significance (often of a religious nature). Carnations reflect different types of love: the dark red symbolize deep love, the white denote pure love, and the pink are associated with motherly love (according to Christian lore, the pink carnation was the first, created by Mary’s tears of sorrow as her son carried the cross). Duflos’s still life can also be seen in the light of the 20th-century artistic trend known as the “call to order.” After decades of avant-garde developments and experimentation with abstraction, many European artists returned to representational forms in the 1920s as a reaction to the chaos, irrationality, and destruction of WWI.