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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 21st century: The Lily Pool
The Lily Pool

The Lily Pool
Rae Ferren
oil on canvas
36 3/4 x 40 3/4 in. (93.3 x 103.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Bran Ferren

Although Rae Ferren formally studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, she feels that the majority of her understanding of painting comes through doing it herself and from looking at fine art. She strives to maintain a closeness to nature by creating a personal interpretation of it. In The Lily Pool, Ferren's loose brushstrokes and vivid colors create an impression of a refreshing pond, alive with beautiful water lilies. The water's reflection of the surrounding landscape almost makes us feel as if we are standing amid the lush vegetation. Ferren's emphasis on light and the visible brushstrokes recall paintings by the French impressionists. The bright colors were likely inspired by the palette of postimpressionist French painter Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), who also used vibrant blues and greens in his depictions of sunlit gardens.

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