Redoute: The Man Who Painted Flowers

Carolyn Croll, Author Putnam Publishing Group $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-399-22606-9
Like its subject, this imaginative study of the ""Raphael of Flowers"" operates within a small but inspired range. Her orderly yet lush watercolor scenes of the French artist's life (1759-1840) handsomely complement the personality of the hero, who managed a long and brilliant career as a botanical painter despite numerous political and personal upheavals. In her artfully understated text Croll (The Little Snowgirl) traces the historical background, also touching on matters of technique and Redoute's problems with money. She thus adds crucial balance to a life story remarkably blessed with luck as well as talent. Indeed, the theme of perseverance and its rewards permeates this book, as notables Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon and Josephine, and a buckskin-suited John James Audubon pay tribute to the artist and his work. In its gentle sensitivity and careful attention to detail, Croll's book reflects Redoute's own credo: one does best what one loves most, however humble the pursuit. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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