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Two Orchids, Brassia Lanceana, Cattleya Labiata

William Jacob Hays

American Art

Hays made regular sketching excursions to the American forests and frontier, but he did not have to travel far to find the exotic specimens depicted here since orchids were cultivated in greenhouses in his hometown, New York City. The artist began with pencil drawings—still visible in some areas—and then completed the plant forms in oil paint. These studies were among many he made in preparation for his large, highly detailed painting Bouquet of Orchids, 1871 (Private collection).
MEDIUM Oil and graphite on canvas
DATES 1869
DIMENSIONS 12 3/8 x 7 5/8 in. (31.4 x 19.4 cm) Framed: 13 x 8 1/4 in. (33 x 21 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed upper center: "Epidendrum" (crossed out); inscribed below top center: "Brasia / Lancianum"; inscribed left center: "Cattleya labiata / Caracas"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard L. Milberg
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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