Alphonse Goossens

Alphonse Goossens (1866-1944)
Original watercolor illustrations for Dictionnaire Iconographique des Orchidees
Brussels, 1895-1907

These outstanding watercolors of orchids were created as illustrations for Dictionnaire Iconographique des Orchidees. The illustrations were printed as chromolithographs, and the volumes were published in Brussels, 1895-1907. The striking watercolors display the detail and symmetry of these delicate flowers, while creating a three-dimensional vision that results in a very lifelike look.

The important Belgian botanist Alfred Celestin Cogniaux (1841-1916) chose Alfred Goossens to illustrate his extensive Dictionnaire Iconographique des Orchidees; a 12-volume work published over 12 years. Cogniaux, who is remembered for his comprehensive systemization of Brazilian orchids, made an important contribution to the study of orchids and many species were named after him.

Alfred Goossens also worked on J. Linden’s Iconographia des Orchidees, which was published in Ghent (1885-1901), and also created watercolors of prize-winning orchids on private commission. The American Orchid Society purchased a large number of the original watercolors for the Dictionnaire, and Goossens was made an honorary member for his contribution to the scientific study of orchids.


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