New York

Paul Wonner

Hirschl & Adler Modern

Paul Wonner’s precisely articulated pictures have grown, in the artist’s words, “out of . . . interest and pleasure in 17th-century Dutch still-life paintings.” Yet, while many of the things of Dutch genre scenes are present in these works, theirs is a stillness without charm or intimacy, rendered in a hard, bright, resolutely contemporary light.

To Flora, 1985, is paradigmatic of Wonner’s sensibility. Within a bare interior space, the floor a virtually uninflected neutral gray, the rear wall nearly black, a great many containers of flowers have been placed. They surround an antique wooden table (the room’s only furniture) on which rest some pansies in a small white glass vase, a sharpened pencil, and an upright hardcover book opened to a page showing a reproduction of one of Rembrandt’s two portraits of his wife, Saskia, as Flora. All of the different flower arrangements function as so

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