This work has an amusing and mysterious story. It was, in fact, originally part of a painting that was left unfinished. This painting was probably cut into at least two parts by a dealer, between 1904 and 1914. Paul Guillaume bought Fleurs et fruits [Flowers and Fruits] in 1931 from the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939), a painting also in the Musée de l’Orangerie. Many years after his death, his widow Domenica, who liked Cézanne’s paintings, bought Flowers in a Blue Vase without knowing that it was the other half. It was the curator, Michel Hoog, who eventually managed to put together part of the story in 1992.
The two pieces of the painting had been reworked. They have since been restored, and the repainting carried out when the painting was cuthas been removed It is now possible to see the cream coloured preparation of the original canvas. This still life has a very simple composition and very delicate colours. Perhaps Cézanne used paper flowers as a model, as he was known to have done on occasions.
We do not know any more about these two works. Cézanne rarely left paintings unfinished, usually preferring to destroy them.
Provenance: M. Gangnat, Paris; Gangnat sale, Paris, 25 June 1925, n° 164 (repr. cat.); E. Vautheret, Lyon; Vautheret sale, 16 June 1933, n° 3 (repr. cat.); Galerie Reid and Lefevre, London; E. Bignou, New York; Domenica Walter