Paul DeLongpre, (1855-1911), was born near Lyon, France, to a Creole heiress and a father who squandered his wife’s fortunes. One of eight now impoverished children he often skipped school to paint the flowers around his home. His love of flowers continued even after joining his older brothers in the silk trade. He married in 1874 to Josephine, a seamstress, and they had three daughters.
Though he had little formal training, his passion for painting flowers continued and he became well known in France. The French government even adapted his models for state art schools. As his prominence grew he decided to leave his homeland for America.
In America his first place of residence was New York City where he acquired a decorative painting commission. From his commissions he gained notoriety and became well known throughout the United States.
Frustrated by the cold weather of New York City, and missing his flowers, he relocated to California. There he had flowers all year long. He built a large mansion with gardens attracting tour groups to his estate.
Hollywood was attracted to his estate and work. At the exhibit a silent movie clip of Mary Pickford acting at the mansion is present. It is said she even purchased a work during her filming.
Known as The King of Flowers, and in some circles Hollywood’s First Celebrity he died in 1911. His family returned to France and tragically his mansion was torn down to make way for a street.
Thanks to the museum placards for this information.
Now, let’s drink in these beautiful still life works.
And let’s close with a burgeoning Paul DeLongpre, who knows where this gal will go??
Another phenomenal exhibit at the Hickory.
Thanks to Barbara and Randal Williams for sharing these works.