John La Farge painted this study as part of the large group of watercolors that represented his first serious exploration of the medium. Layering thin, largely transparent washes of color, the painter captured the uncut blossoms as dynamic, untamed forms of nature, not as elements in a traditional still life. The exuberant floral design reflects the artist’s admiration of Japanese art, which La Farge and other late 19th-century artists admired for its rich decorative effect. In this way, Study of Pink Hollyhocks in Sunlight looks ahead to La Farge’s masterworks in stained glass, in which he memorably combined his interests in color, light and transparency.


  • Title: Study of Pink Hollyhocks in Sunlight, from Nature
  • Creator: John La Farge
  • Date Created: 1879
  • Physical Dimensions: w246.13 x h303.28 in (Unframed)
  • Type: Watercolor
  • Rights: Gift of James Maroney, Gift of James Maroney
  • Medium: Watercolor and gouache on paper
  • Culture: American

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