Cadell was an artist whose quality of work never faltered and although it evolved through various stages throughout his life, he mastered each new phase of his work and painted with a sophistication and panache which was always superb. The late 1920s and early 1930s were arguably the most fertile period for Cadell's still-life painting as he moved away from the starker Art Deco interiors and still-lifes of the early 1920s and painted with a softer and more delicate touch. Marigolds demonstrates the culmination of this developing style. This had been noted by a journalist for the Daily Mail who wrote in 1923, following an exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1923; '[Cadell] has solidified his style. All forms are stated with an assurance that carves conviction...' while the Sunday Observer reported that 'not a trace of the earlier Cadell is left...although his colour has lost none of its charm and harmonious brightness’.
Cadell painted flowers with an almost architectural structure of powerful, hatched brushstrokes. His vibrant palette shows the influence his friend Samuel John Peploe had on Cadell's work at this time. This in turn came from the long periods Peploe spent in Paris, absorbing the practices of the French avant-garde, in particular Cezanne's late still lifes and the work of the Fauves. The colour and vivacity of Cadell's paintings reflected his lively personality and the intelligence and accomplishment of his pictures showed his artistic genius. Although it depicts a fairly humble jam-jar of garden flowers placed casually on the ledge of a window, Marigolds encompasses Cadell's entire artistic ethos to capture the fleeting effects of sunlight and colour harmony - a challenge that he faced repeatedly for more than thirty years.
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