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"Azaleas and Apple Blossoms" (1879) was painted by Charles Caryl Coleman (1840-1928). He was a prominent American artist who lived in Rome during the American Civil War.

"In 1883, a writer for the Roman News described Coleman's studio as 'a scene from a fairy play {filled with} antique tapestries and medieval paintings and brass lamps and rich oriental rugs, which the magician Coleman has managed to bring together,'" according to the de Young Museum.

"This painting fuses European tabletop still-life traditions with Asian objects and aesthetics. The vase documents the vogue for antique blue-and-white china that entranced artists such as James McNeill Whistler.

"The flowers, silhouetted against a silk textile, recall the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement known as ikebana (arranged flowers) or kado (the way of flowers).

"Coleman's harmonious composition epitomizes the aspirations and achievements of the Aesthetic Movement, which embraced the philosophy of 'art for art's sake' and promoted the beautiful as an ideal in all aspects of life."
Charles Caryl ColemanCharles Caryl ColemanCharles Caryl Coleman

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Keywords:American artist, Azaleas and Apple Blossoms, Charles Caryl Coleman, Civil War, Glenn Franco Simmons, Rome, arranged flowers, de Young Museum, ikebana, kado, the way of flowers