Straw Flowers

ShulgoldWilliam - Straw Flowers.JPG
ShulgoldWIlliam - Straw Flowers.JPG

Dublin Core



A slanted table has a vase filled with dried flowers ranging from colors of orange, yellow, purple and one single white flower. Behind the vase is a heavier fabric draping around all the objects on the table. The objects include a goblet swaddled in the fabric to the left of the vase, a book in front of the vase and a bowl of pears and grapes to the left of the vase. The warm colors and the focus of the flowers in the middle of the painting make the painting feel autumnal. Which leads to the feeling that the flowers symbolize the end of autumn and the beginning of winter as the flowers seem to have been collected and dried and therefore been in the vase for a while.

About the Artist: Born in Kaminietz, Russia, Shulgold’s family immigrated to Pittsburgh, PA shortly thereafter. After graduating high school he studied art at the Carnegie Technical Institute with Arthur Watson Sparks and George Sotter, then later with William Auerbach-Levy at the National Academy of Design. He also studied art in Paris and Florence. Shulgold began his career finding opportunities wherever he could: as a Carnegie student, he was awarded a prize for war poster design; in 1922, he created stage sets for a production of Booth Tarkington’s Penrod at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement theater; (Pittsburgh Daily Post 22 May 1918: 7; Pittsburgh Press 27 Nov. 1922: 17). Shulgold continued to teach students at the Settlement art school for several years. Meanwhile his paintings were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery. In 1928 Shulgold moved to New York, although he retained close ties to Pittsburgh. By the 1930s he was becoming known as a portrait painter, albeit with his own specific views: “One may consider heads as a study in architecture. The shape is comparable to the structural design of a building. The features of a face are like the windows and ornamentation of the building” (Naylor). In 1943 Shulgold moved to California, where he was in demand as a portrait painter—for example, of Ronald Coleman playing the film role of Richard III in A Double Life—while continuing his work in other genres. One review of a 1951 show said that “In California he has turned to gayer moods and smaller sizes in pictures of flowers, nudes, and small portraits” (“Portrait”). 2 works at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. 1 more image at FAP.

Sources Consulted: Douglas Naylor, “ ‘Studies in Architecture’: Title Artist Gives Head Drawings,” Pittsburgh Press 4 Dec. 1932: 34; “Portrait of Ronald Coleman Impresses,” Los Angelest Times 18 July 1948: 56.


Shulgold, William, 1897-1989








Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

20 x 24 in.
Condition: pin holes, surface dirt, stains