Painted posies for a Valentine

Chagall’s pink petals and Rubin’s bold blue delphiniums go under the hammer

Aesthetes should swap a visit to the florist for one to Bonhams’ central London salesroom, where a far more impressive – and longer-lasting – bouquet could be theirs (and their loved one’s) when two highly desirable paintings come up for auction at the Impressionist and Modern Art sale on Tuesday February 5.

Flowers inspired artist Marc Chagall throughout his life, and the splashes of colour and delicately outlined petals in Petit Bouquet (first picture, estimate £8,000-£12,000) beautifully epitomise his distinctive style. Bursting from the canvas with great energy, Chagall’s flowers seem to shower the lovers in a spray of bright pink confetti.


“Chagall’s Petit Bouquet has never been on the market, as the painting was a personal gift from the artist to his friend Tériade, an important art patron and publisher at the time,” says William O’Reilly, director of Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern Art department. “It was then passed down through family and friends over the years as a mark of the love and respect they felt for one another. It would be very fitting for the painting to be bought as a Valentine’s gift for a loved one.”


Should your bid prove unsuccessful, you might consider another alluring flower painting in the same sale – Delphiniums by Reuven Rubin. The bold blue blooms in this signed oil painting (second picture, estimate £40,000-£60,000) exude an intense, almost mystical, quality that perfectly symbolises romance and passion.