About The Artwork
Backlit by the mid-afternoon sun, Ivan Choultse’s Rose Garden evokes the sensory experiences of a summer day. Warm colors, including reds, pinks, yellows and even warmer greens, predominate the composition and infuse every element of the scene, from the neatly aligned flowerbeds that flank a gravel path to a Mediterranean-style portico with terracotta roof tiles. A classically inspired urn perched atop a pedestal anchors the scene on the left.
Choultse was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1877. Accounts of his early artistic education connect him to the studio the great Fabregé minaturist Konstantin Krijitski, and through Krijitski to the court of Czar Nicholas II. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the artist immigrated to Paris, where he lived and worked until his death in 1932. Despite the widespread attention to modernist styles popular in the French capital, Choultse gained renown for his landscape paintings done in an Impressionist style, which he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français.
The influence of Impressionism persists in Rose Garden and can be seen in the artist’s application of paint and his attention to light and color. Although Choultse’s composition is highly structured with strong horizontal and vertical lines, his brushstrokes are relatively loose and suggest the play of light over the various surfaces. Instead of creating shadows by using grays and blacks, as had been standard prior to the Impressionists, Choultse paints colored shadows and reflected light. In so doing, he heightens the coloristic effect of a sun-drenched afternoon.
Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University