Ada Van Winkle
Following the lead of still-life painters George Cochran Lambdin and Martin Johnson Heade, nineteenth-century woman artist Ada Van Winkle created beautiful floral works that often showcase a single species of flower. The popularity of paintings such as Van Winkle’s experienced a surge in the mid and late nineteenth century due to the numerous books dedicated to the “language of flowers.” These volumes created and perpetuated the symbolic meaning of particular floral specimens, including the rose, which was often interpreted as a sign of love and beauty. In addition to its affect on social gatherings and courtship rituals, the “language of flowers” helped to add a sentimental meaning to painted still lifes such as Van Winkle’s Roses. Although little is known of her personal life, it has been recorded that Van Winkle was born in California, but moved to New Jersey in 1860. She exhibited four works at the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute in 1871.