Another still life medium – paintings I

It is already clear that still life photography comes from painting. Nevertheless, the development of painting in the 20th century was also an important inspiration for modern photography.

The 20th century was a century of revolution and emerging abstraction in terms of art. The new trends developed very quickly and overlapped. Above all, the tendency towards non-figurative and abstract motifs was new. The still life found its place here especially in the first half of the century, as in the second half the popular abstraction made the recognizable motifs disappear completely. So it can also be seen in photography how one goes from the classical representation more and more towards more abstract and experimental directions. So it is still exciting to see what very modern forms of painting look like, to see how, after this revolutionary development in the 20th century, the artists are redefining the topic.

About 20th Century

As examples of the well-known artists of this era, Paul Gauguin painted the sunflower still life to honor his deceased friend Van Gogh. Because one of Van Gogh’s most famous pictures is the flower still life with a bouquet of sunflowers. The group, Les Nabis, to which Gauguin belonged, took up his harmonic theories and adapted subjects that were inspired by the Japanese woodcut. Further examples of this period would be the flower still lifes by the French painter Odilon Redon.

Another representative who would be exemplary for still life painting is Henri Matisse. His scheme consisted of more or less flat contours and bright, radiant colors. He also reduced the perspective representation and used multicolored backgrounds. The useful objects, such as tables, which only have the purpose of the display area and, in Matisse’s case, already merge with the space and disappear. Other founders of Fauvism, such as Maurice de Vlaminck and Andre Derain, also experimented with pure color and abstraction in their still lifes.

To sum it up the still life theme is about the things, that belong to us and therefore define who we are. The contemporary still life artwork often reflect the real or suggestive surroundings they have or create through their projects. 

Paul Gaugin

Vincent Van Gogh

Odilon Redon

Henri Matisse