Quince Blossoms, detail 3

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    Quince Blossoms, 1878, oil on canvas, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia. The painting shows quince blossoms in a large Italian earthenware pot next to a Japanese fan with goldfish. Also shown are two Chinese bowls. The textile is Near Eastern. This combination of multi-cultural elements is characteristic of the decorative effects employed by follows of the aesthetic movement where the art was to have no purpose except Art for Art’s Sake.

    Charles Caryl Coleman (1840-1928) was an expatriate American artist who called the island of Capri his home for close to 60 years. He was born in Buffalo, and studied art there and in Paris under Thomas Couture between 1859 and 1862. He returned to the United States, serving in the 100th Regiment of the New York Volunteers in the Civil War; shot in the jaw, he was discharged in 1863. By 1866 he was in Rome; in 1870 he converted a former convent into his villa (Villa Narcissus), which became a center for other expatriates and followers of the aesthetic movement. “In 1910, in the latter part of his life, Coleman fell ill and was not expected to live; yet, he did and carried on for almost another two decades, playing the role of the eccentric artist, presenting himself in outlandish dress to house-guests, throwing parties and generally having a good time right to the end. He is buried on Capri.” [ ac-support.europe.umuc.edu/~jmatthew/naples/coleman.html ]

    He did close to 300 paintings in a variety of styles and a variety of genre covering portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and works depicting classical architectural elements. His landscapes featured the scenery around the Bay of Naples, including a series on the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, The still lifes depicted decorative elements, an amalgam of items from numerous cultures, often with a touch of the exotic and Oriental. He crafted art frames and the one used for his friend Elihu Vedder’s “Cup of Death” is attributed to him [see www.flickr.com/photos/universalpops/6816949790/ ]. He also did the frame for this image, Quince Blossoms, but I foolishly neglected to include it in the photo. Coleman did some murals for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and some designs for the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York for Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company.

    19 images are at www.the-athenaeum.org/art/list.php?m=a&s=du&aid=430
    12 images are at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Charles_Caryl_Coleman

    Some sources:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Caryl_Coleman
    ac-support.europe.umuc.edu/~jmatthew/naples/coleman.html

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