Flowers: Passion. Pain. Nation.
The symbolic role of flowers in Western art from the late Renaissance through to contemporary Australian art is both significant and diverse. The Dutch still-life tradition is perhaps best-known, with its association between flowers and the transience of life, but there is much more to discover. Flowers: Passion. Pain. Nation. draws together the big narratives of life – religion, marriage and death, as well as love and eroticism. Flowers are also part of Australia’s national narrative in art and a crucial source for Australian modernist women.
For David Roche, flowers were a source of endless joy in his garden and home. He collected porcelain, furniture and textiles adorned with flowers and many still-life paintings over his lifetime. David’s purchase of Theude Grönland’s Still life with flowers, 1846, was amongst his very last. These are now complimented by major paintings from public and private collections and illustrate the universal appeal of flowers across the centuries in Western art. Artists represented in Flowers: Passion. Pain. Nation. include Henri Fantin-Latour, Bartolomeo Passerotti, Tom Roberts, Hans Heysen, Margaret Preston, Adrian Feint, Arthur Boyd, Max Dupain, Anna Platten and Michael Zavros.