Tulip Mania: Honor and Connoisseurship
Size: 47” x 40 1/4″
Medium: Pigment Print
Edition Size: 75
This statement print hearkens back to the Dutch golden age. In 1593 tulips were brought from Turkey and introduced to the Dutch. The novelty of the new flower made it widely sought after and therefore fairly pricey. Tulips herald a reputation as a totem of beauty, to the notion of the irrational and the dance of life.
The visual arrangement of this print retells the powerful drama, and the enigmatic energy of the tulip. Observe the gestures of the figures on the urn. They hold a strong inescapable allure due to their extraordinary beauty. The figures are lure the viewer inward. The male figure holds on to his honor as he bends, gripping to the vase. While the female figure appears motivated by connoisseurship rather than gain as her gaze holds steadfast. She knows that it is better “to stop and smell the flowers”, rather than stake one’s future upon them.
Even at its height, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, well established in 1630, choose not to institutionalize the trade of tulips. Tulip Mania has become a popular idiom for any type of investment bubble burst. The color of the urn creates a terra cotta effect that signifies cultivation of Dutch soil. The aura surrounding the urn emulates the golden age of Dutch mercantile culture. The stem border in this composition represents the margins of Dutch economic life. The tulips in this piece are sourced from early an 19th century anonymous gouache.