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Aqua Poppies

Donald Sultan (American, 1951-)

Created: 2002
Materials:Enamel, flocking, tar, spackle, tile, masonite, 96 x 144 in.
Dimensions: H 96" x W 144"

Museum Purchase: Charlotte Garden Club Fund and Exchange Funds from the Gift of Harry and Mary Dalton. 2003.90A-F

Donald Sultan utilizes construction materials and techniques to create elegant still lifes. His substantial poppies are painted a hue seldom found in nature. From a simple wooden grid he carves the outline of the flowers, filling the depressions with plaster, and then applies paint to define the petals and black flocking to signify the centers. Sultan states, “I wanted to introduce something black into all the lushness, something that could be a hole and a volume at the same time.” There is a nostalgic quality inherent in this vivid painting. The aqua color is reminiscent of mid-century automobiles, and the poppies may signify the flowers that are used to decorate veterans’ graves. Sultan is interested in the juxtaposition of the natural with the industrial. He masterfully transforms humble materials to create a bold, yet ephemeral image.