This work was selected by Skyler Leslie (class of 2021), who explains: “I was drawn to this work because of the colors—the whites and purples pop off the page, giving the bouquet a whimsical feel. The detail in the petals is so deep that it is almost lifelike. The painting reminds me of springs spent with my mother, where we would pick lilacs off of our bush and place them in vases around the house. This work was painted in the 1890s, and the unusual suspension of a cut bouquet of flowers against a blank background could reflect the change in both beliefs and art styles at the turn of the century. In the Victorian era, flowers had meanings and were used as a way for the upper class to communicate. Maucherat de Longpré is using these lilacs as an allegorical device, with purple lilacs symbolizing first love and white lilacs symbolizing youth and innocence.“
The Vault, which also houses some of the works from our permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. Each month, one of our student gallery guides selects a piece from our collection and writes a short text explaining why they chose it and believe it should be displayed. By providing our gallery guides with an opportunity to participate in the curatorial process of selection and display, we aim to open a dialogue with the student community while simultaneously sharing with the public works from the collection that would otherwise remain in storage.