Lise Cloquet, also known as Anne-Louise Cloquet, was a French botanical painter who picked up drawing from her father, illustrator and engraver Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Cloquet. Lise’s flower paintings are evidence of a wealthy family background; painting flowers was thought to be a suitable pastime for wealthy women because of its more effeminate qualities. Cloquet’s works thus exhibit an interest, primarily, in artistic details rather than scientific ones.
This piece differs from the vast majority of her work in a number of ways. This painting, unlike many of her others, seems unfinished: colorless pencil markings merge with painted flowers in the top left corner, and each flower species is taken not only out of context, but is separated from its green leaves and stem. The lack of greenery within the painting in large part contributes to the unfinished texture of the work, yet it also exemplifies Cloquet’s primary interest in flowers within the context of beauty and art rather than science.
Almost like a sketch, this work experiments with different perspectives of flowers and with different subject material. Notedly, cherries are also included in the artwork, characterizing Cloquet’s shift away from depicting simply flowers in the later years of her work.
Cherries have a lineage impossible to trace because of their intense cultivation over the centuries. Sweet Cherries, or Prunus avium, grows wild in Britain, across Europe, and in some areas across Asia. Today, the french seem the most enthused by cherries; in 1979 the french produced 100,000 tonnes per year. Such is fitting, as Cloquet was a french artist herself. In this painting, Cloquet captures their specific yellowish-red color and almost heart-shaped appearance of the cherries.