Staff Pick | Monthly Muse October 2021
I love how the decorative arts bring aesthetic beauty into the home environment for the simple pleasure of looking and to create a sense of place. This porcelain vase by “Impressionist china painter” Franz Bischoff (1864 – 1929), as he was known by his late 19th -/early 20th-century contemporaries, is rich in style and color. The elegance of its elongated, moss green shape draws the eye to the shoulder clustered with fat, yellow poppies resting on slender stems swaying towards the base. There is an Arts and Crafts simplicity and symmetry to California Poppies that reveals Bischoff’s technical mastery of illustration and composition, which he learned as an apprentice in his native Bohemia.
After emigrating to the United States in 1882 and later settling in the Los Angeles area with his family in 1906, the artist joined the California Art Club, where he expanded his practice to watercolors and oil paintings on canvas. He also explored a Post-Impressionist style that used color liberally, perhaps inspired by his new friends and surroundings. During the gray days of winter, I imagine this vase prominently positioned on a fireplace mantle, inserting the warm California sun into a chilly living room and signaling the promise of summer.
Interim Deputy Director, IMCA