Monet first visited Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1870, recording his signature in the Gallery's visitor book. Now, for a limited time, his work Vase of Flowers (1881-2) will be displayed at the Gallery alongside the work of the 18th century flower-painter Jan van Huysum. Although taking the same theme, the two works demonstrate the artists' very different approaches to the still life subject.
On loan from London's Courtauld Gallery, Vase of Flowers was painted at a time when Monet was focused almost exclusively on painting still-lifes. This lavish arrangement of wild mallows gave the artist particular trouble. Monet eventually abandoned the picture, keeping it in his studio for forty years, only to complete it in the last years of his life. In some of the petals and leaves the areas of later reworking are particularly visible.