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MFA Images: Still Life

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  • Sword, Pistols, and Teacup

    1872 or after
    James Reeve Stuart (American, 1834–1915 American)

    Description

    Because so little is known of Stuart’s life or patronage, one can only speculate on his motives for selecting the particular objects that appear in this still life. Stuart has depicted a porcelain teacup, saucer, and spoon; a pair of early eighteenth-century Queen Anne flintlock holster pistols; a sword, and a brown leather pistol case set against a dark brown background. He may have chosen them for their opposite meanings and associations: the delicate feminine teacup represents the domestic sphere and evokes images of genteel social occasions, while the guns and sword signal the masculine arenas of fighting and hunting. It is also possible that the objects were family heirlooms belonging either to Stuart, who came from a wealthy and aristocratic Southern family, or to a client. In this way, the still life would become a kind of portrait, an individual enacted through his or her possessions.

    Stuart attended the University of Virginia in 1852 and enrolled at Harvard in 1853 but did not graduate. During his time in Cambridge, he frequently visited the Boston studio of Joseph Ames, a specialist in portraits. In the late 1850s, he traveled to Germany to study art, becoming only the third American to enter the Royal Academy of Art in Munich when he enrolled in 1860. The Civil War depleted his family’s resources and Stuart was forced to return to the United States. He opened his first studio in Atlanta, moved to Memphis and then to St. Louis before settling in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1872. He taught at Milwaukee College and the University of Wisconsin, but earned his living mainly from portrait painting. Since Stuart’s work has not been systematically studied, the role of still life painting in his career is as yet unknown. Though he lived some distance from the centers of American artistic life on the East coast, the selection of objects and realistic style of this canvas suggests his awareness of contemporary currents in American still-life painting, particularly the tabletop still lifes of William Harnett [2000.2; 1999.257], who in the later nineteenth century often depicted valuable man-made objects. Such compositions reflect the Victorian vogue for collecting small objects, bric-a-brac, and antiques.

    This text was adapted from Karyn Esielonis, et al, “Still-Life Painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 1994)

    Inscription

    Lower right: Jas. R. Stuart/Madison, W[isconsin]

    Provenance

    The artist, probably until 1915; with John Levy, New York, 1944; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1944; to MFA, 1948, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.75 x 61.59 cm (20 3/8 x 24 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.478

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Old Models

    1892
    William Michael Harnett (American (born in Ireland), 1848–1892 American)

    Description

    To late-nineteenth-century viewers in an age of industrialization and progress, William Michael Harnett’s Old Models was a nostalgic tribute to the unhurried cultural pursuits of a bygone era. Harnett, the talented leader of the group of late-nineteenth-century illusionistic still-life painters that included John Frederick Peto [62.278] and John Haberle [1984.163], trained initially as a silverware engraver, which undoubtedly shaped his later precise style of painting. He then studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Cooper Union in New York before spending six years working in Munich and, for a short time, Paris. In Europe, Harnett examined in particular the work of seventeenth-century Dutch painters.

    Old Models is one of Harnett’s best compositions, representative of his trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) style and his typical subject matter. Harnett created the painting for display in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, a great world’s fair to be held in Chicago. To ensure that his work would be noticed, he selected a large vertical canvas and composed a monumental still life that he crafted with brilliant technical virtuosity. Instruments, sheet music, and books—emblems of civilized leisure activities—are bathed in a golden light evoking such old masters as Rembrandt.

    An amateur flute player, Harnett owned a collection of musical instruments that he frequently used as props. The violin, realistically covered with rosin dust, was described in his estate sale as “Cremona Violin … ‘Joseph Guarnerius, fecit. Cremona, anno 1724’ … procured by Mr. Harnett at a great cost from a celebrated collection in Paris.” Although it was probably not a genuine Guarneri, the violin as well as the other objects appealed to nineteenth-century patrons fond of collecting antiques and bric-a-brac. The keyed bugle, dented and tarnished, was a simplified version of the instrument portrayed in several earlier works. Behind the bugle, Harnett included a tattered copy of 50 mélodies pour violon; the sheet music hanging over the shelf is Thomas Moore’s “’Tis the Last Rose of Summer,” a sentimental Irish ballad that evokes Harnett’s country of birth and perhaps alludes to the ill health that had dogged him in the preceding three years. Harnett also included Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Homer’s Odyssey, and a seventeenth-century medical reference book, all of which may also refer to the trials of his illness. The dusty, worn, and dilapidated objects are “old” in two senses: they bear signs of the passage of time, and they had been used as props in Harnett’s previous paintings. Likewise, they are “models” in that they are both subjects for artistic representation and exemplars of a contemplative and musical life. Old Models turned out to be Harnett’s valedictory painting, as he died of kidney disease in 1892 at the age of forty-four. Although the work was never exhibited in Chicago, it was shown posthumously at the St. Louis Exposition of 1896.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Lower left: WMHarnett./1892. [WMH in monogram]

    Provenance

    1892, estate of the artist; February 23-24, 1893, Harnett Estate Sale, Thomas Birch's Sons, Philadelphia, lot 27. 1893, with M. Knoedler Gallery, New York. February 1-2, 1898, A. Ludwig Collection Sale, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York, lot 93. 1926, with George E. Kelley, Gimbel Brothers, Philadelphia; 1926, sold by George E. Kelley to William J. Hughes (1863-1938), Washington, D.C.; 1939, sold by the estate of William J. Hughes to Downtown Galleries, New York; 1939, sold by Downtown Galleries to the MFA for $4,000. (Accession Date: November 9, 1939)

    Credit Line

    The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    138.11 x 71.75 cm (54 3/8 x 28 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.761

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Student's Materials

    about 1890–1900
    John Frederick Peto (American, 1854–1907)

    Description

    Peto’s viewer has opened a doorway onto the dark corner of a private study. The initial impression is one of disorder. Books are stacked haphazardly, teetering near the corner of a simple, well-used table. An extinguished candle juts out of a wax-encrusted candlestick, which in turn sits precariously on top of an uneven pile of books and a pamphlet, open face down. A tobacco pipe is perched on the edge of the candlestick base. A ceramic inkwell rests on the green tablecloth, its label worn away. A few rivulets of dried ink stain its side. In the jar leans a frayed quill pen, a compositional counterbalance to the candle. Above it, a slim volume with a reddish-brown binding leans diagonally, its line echoed by the top and bottom edge of a book or journal at left that hangs rather curiously by a thread that, in turn, appears to be anchored to the table only by the weight of the stack of books above. This careless stacking of books, as if a scholar or student were lost in thought, suggests a disregard for material concerns and becomes an outward expression of intellectual reverie.

    The presence of the scholar is implied by his well-thumbed books, and by the pipe and quill pen–personal objects that are extensions of the scholar’s hand. Both suggest traces of his existence: the smell of the pipe, the voice and hand of the author as transcribed in ink. Though the painting is purely visual, it suggests broader sensory stimulation. At the same time, these sensations have cased. By extension, the scholar is absent. The pipe and candle are extinguished; the pen is still.

    Contradiction lies at the core of this painting. The disarray of a chaotic heap of books that threatens to collapse upon itself stands in contrast to the orderly, precise nature of Peto’s technique and, in fact, to the very conscientious effort he made to arrange and stack these materials just so. The unstudied, unplanned look of the still life is deliberate and intentional. Peto produced numerous compositions featuring similar elements, and often, identical objects, many of which can be found in period photos of the artist’s studio.

    For all the apparent legibility of “Student’s Materials”–it is cleanly and clearly painted to convey a sense of visual fidelity–the painting in fact withholds a great deal. The illusion of physicality, of materiality, dissolves readily into paint upon inspection. These books are closed to the viewer, withholding whatever information or knowledge they contain. Not a single legible word appears on the visible spines. Even the ink label has been obliterated. Suggestive and open to interpretation, the painting retains its inscrutability.

    Cody Hartley

    Inscription

    Upper right: J F Peto

    Provenance

    The artist; probably Mrs. George Smiley, the artist's daughter, Island Heights, N.J., 1907; with Victor Spark, New York; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1953; to MFA, 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim Karolik

    Details

    Dimensions

    51.75 x 41.59 cm (20 3/8 x 16 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.412

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Americas

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  • Old Time Letter Rack

    1894
    John Frederick Peto (American, 1854–1907)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower right: John. F Peto/.94; Reverse, before relining: OLD TIME LETTER RACK/BY/John F. Peto/Island Heights/New Jersey/1894

    Provenance

    1894, sold by the artist to Dr. Edward J. Ill (1854-1942), New Jersey; 1942, by descent to his grandson, Edward Ill, Southampton, Long Island; about 1952, with Victor Spark, New York; 1952, sold by Victor Spark to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1964, bequest of Maxim Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 8, 1964)

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Maxim Karolik

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.52 x 63.5 cm (30 1/8 x 25 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.411

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238)

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    Americas

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  • The Poor Man's Store

    1885
    John Frederick Peto (American, 1854–1907)

    Description

    John Frederick Peto’s painting of a shabby but colorful storefront window belongs to the school of trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) paintings associated with William Michael Harnett [39.761]. It is an early masterpiece in a career that stretched from 1877, when Peto enrolled for a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, until his death thirty years later. While living in Philadelphia, Peto became friendly with Harnett and borrowed many of his subjects and compositional devices, although he worked in his own distinct, more painterly style. The canvas of The Poor Man’s Store depicts brightly colored candies, peanuts, gingerbread, and fruit for sale. It is surrounded by a wooden frame illusionistically painted to simulate a door, shelf, and wall.
    Such shop windows were characteristic of Philadelphia during the nineteenth century. A contemporary reviewer described one of Peto’s earlier paintings of the same subject in the Philadelphia Record in 1880:
    [Block quote]
    [It] cleverly illustrates a familiar phase of our street life, and presents upon canvas one of the most prominent of Philadelphia’s distinctive features. A rough, ill-constructed board shelf holds the “Poor Man’s Store”—a half dozen rosy-cheeked apples, some antique gingerbread, a few jars of cheap confectionery “Gibraltars” and the like, and, to give all a proper finish and lend naturalness to the decorative surroundings of the goods, a copy of The Record has been spread beneath.”[1]
    [/Block quote]

    It was not unusual for Peto to paint several versions of a theme, and the Museum’s picture seems to be similar to the painting described in the Record except for the presence of the newspaper in the earlier work. Instead, it has been replaced by signs advertising “Lodging” and “Good board $3.00 a week.” The metal numbered plaque hanging above the window, the piece of string, and the torn remains of notices were some of Peto’s favorite devices, each one painted to add to the illusionistic effect.

    Peto’s penchant for portraying humble, derelict objects in disordered arrangements may account for his lack of wealthy patrons during his lifetime. After working in Philadelphia, he moved to Island Heights, New Jersey, in 1891, where he was largely forgotten by the Philadelphia art world. In the early twentieth century an unscrupulous art dealer forged Harnett’s name on many of Peto’s works in order to sell them more readily. It was not until mid-century that the paintings were reattributed and Peto began to be appreciated as one of the preeminent still-life painters of the late nineteenth century.

    Notes
    1. Quoted in Alfred Frankenstein, After the Hunt: William Harnett and Other American Still Life Painters, 1870–1900 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1953), 102.

    This text was adapted from Elliot Bostwick Davis et al., American Painting [http://www.mfashop.com/9020398034.html], MFA Highlights (Boston: MFA Publications, 2003).

    Inscription

    Upper left: J.F. Peto/85

    Provenance

    1885, the artist. Private collection, East Orange, N.J. About 1940, Raymond Dey, Preakness, N.J.; sold by Raymond Dey to John Kenneth Byard, Silvermine, Conn.; about 1943, sold by John Kenneth Byard to Miss Mary Allis, Southport, Conn.; about 1951, sold by Mary Allis to Albert Duveen, N.Y.; 1951, sold by Albert Duveen to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I.; 1962, gift of Maxim Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 14, 1962)

    Credit Line

    Gift of Maxim Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    90.17 x 65.09 cm (35 1/2 x 25 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    62.278

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas and panel

    On View

    Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238)

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Corkscrew Hanging on a Nail

    late 1760s
    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)

    Description

    Copley was much admired for his ability to depict material goods—rich velvets and satins, soft fur, and delicate lace. Although his portraits often included accessories such as fruit, flowers, or even a teapot, no independent still lifes survive except Corkscrew Hanging on a Nail. This small painting was cut from a doorframe in the Codman House in Lincoln, Massachusetts. In the late 1760s, Copley had been commissioned to paint a portrait of Dr. Charles Russell, a Codman relation by marriage and then the owner of the house. According to family tradition, on a visit to the sitter when wine was offered but no corkscrew was to be found, Copley responded by painting the missing implement on the wall. Rendered with Copley’s customary careful attention to detail, the illusionistic corkscrew, complete with painted shadow, appears to hang casually from a nail.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Provenance

    Late 1760s, Dr. Charles Russell (1738-1780), Lincoln, Mass. (painted on the library door of his house in Lincoln, Mass., now the Codman House); 1781, to his brother, Chambers Russell (1755-1790); 1790, by descent to his nephew, Charles Russell Codman; about 1790, to John Codman, Jr. (1755-1803), [1] husband of Margaret Russell Codman (1757-1789), who was the youngest sister of Charles and Chambers Russell; 1803, by descent to his son, Charles Russell Codman (b. 1784); 1807, sold by Charles Russell Codman to Charles De Wolf; 1812, sold to Andrew Homer; 1816, sold to James Percival; 1835, sold to Constant F. Minns; 1862, sold to Ogden Codman (died 1904); 1904, by descent to his son, Ogden Codman, Jr. (1863-1951); by descent to his sister, Dorothy Codman (died 1968); 1970, bequest of Ogden Codman, Jr. to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 11, 1970) [1] The estate of Chambers Russell was insufficient to meet the legacies of his will without selling the Lincoln house; John Codman, Jr. decided to pay the legacies himself, and then became owner of the house.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Ogden Codman

    Details

    Dimensions

    13.65 x 14.29 x 2.22 cm (5 3/8 x 5 5/8 x 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1970.223

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Norma and Roger Alfred Saunders Gallery (Gallery 128)

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Flowers, Butterfly, and Book

    17th century
    Unidentified artist, French, 17th century

    Description

    Provenance

    Anonymous collection, Philadelphia [see note 1]. By 1946, Martha Codman (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik (b. 1858 - d. 1948), Newport, RI; 1947, gift of Mrs. Karolik to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 12, 1947) NOTES: [1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file. Whether Mrs. Karolik acquired the painting in Philadelphia is not known.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    26.67 x 36.19 cm (10 1/2 x 14 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    47.1252

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

    Classifications

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  • White Flowers in a Bowl

    1885
    Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895)

    Description

    Although flowers are frequently included in Berthe Morisot’s portraits and interiors, still lifes make up only a small percentage of her work. White Flowers in a Bowl demonstrates the spontaneity associated with her late style. Morisot describes the forms of the bowl, pitcher, and bouquet with a thickly loaded brush, employing a loose, fluent touch. The quick, short strokes used for the flower petals convey the soft, dense quality of the white blooms, traditionally identified as Reines-Marguerites (an aster varietal). Morisot leaves peripheral sections of the unprimed canvas visible, emphasizing the unpremeditated appearance of her composition.

    Inscription

    Lower left: B Morisot

    Provenance

    1896, with Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris [see note 1]. Octave Mirbeau (b. 1850 - d. 1917), Paris; February 24, 1919, posthumous Mirbeau sale, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, lot 28. 1925, Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 8172); February 7, 1925, sold by Durand-Ruel to John Taylor Spaulding (b. 1870 - d. 1948), Boston; 1948, bequest of John Taylor Spaulding to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 3, 1948) NOTES: [1] Included in the exhibition "Berthe Morisot (Madame Eugène Manet): Exposition de son oeuvre" (Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, March 5-21, 1896), cat. no. 161 ("Reines- Marguerites")

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    46 x 55 cm (18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.581

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Musical Instruments

    Follower of Evaristo Baschenis (Italian (Bergamese), 1617–1677)

    Description

    Baschenis’s still lifes of musical instruments became so famous throughout Italy that, in the 1640s, he founded a workshop to produce copies and variants of his picture. The instruments depicted here are among those played by chamber ensembles that performed for invited guests in private homes. Many of Baschenis’s images are rich in symbolic meanings. The lute, for example, was the instrument of love, and many amorous songs were composed for it. Here, the dusty and abandoned lute and the hourglass also seem to function as vanitas elements, alluding to the passage of time.

    Provenance

    By 1947, Arthur Wiesenberger, New York [see note 1]; 1949, gift of Arthur Wiesenberger to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 8, 1949) NOTES: [1] He first lent the painting to the MFA in 1947, when it was attributed to Bartolomeo Bettera.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Arthur Wiesenberger

    Details

    Dimensions

    34.9 x 54.3 cm (13 3/4 x 21 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    49.1789

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Vanitas Still Life

    Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts (Flemish, active in 1659–1675)

    Description

    A Flemish-born artist with international court ties, Cornelis Gijsbrechts presented a virtual inventory of seventeenth-century symbols of transience in many of his still lifes. Vanitas motifs, like the skull, hourglass, candle, soap bubble, and music—represented here by the violin—served as reminders of the transitory nature of the material world. Whereas vanitas images appeared as compositional elements in other genres, these objects became the primary focus in this type of still life. The inclusion of such potent symbols in these compositions allowed the still-life genre to take on a moral significance. By painting the top right corner of the canvas as if it had come loose from its support, he demonstrated that even the painter’s canvas, which may appear to arrest time, is fragile and impermanent. In this way, the artist melded a visually striking trompe l’oeil technique—one intended to fool the eye with its illusionism—with the vanitas subject.

    Provenance

    1953, Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York [see note 1]. 1958, Jon Nicholas Streep, New York; 1958, sold by Streep to the MFA for $1,000. (Accession Date: April 10, 1958) NOTES: [1] According to Poul Gammelbo, "Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts og Franciskus Gijsbrechts," Kunstmuseets Arsskrift, 1952-1955 (Copenhagen, 1956), p. 146, no. 15.

    Credit Line

    Abbott Lawrence Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    84.4 x 78.1 cm (33 1/4 x 30 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    58.357

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center ( 130.10)

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Musical Instruments

    Attributed to Evaristo Baschenis (Italian (Bergamese), 1617–1677)

    Description

    Baschenis, who was a priest as well as an artist, was one of the first to specialize in still lifes featuring musical instruments. His choice of subject was undoubtedly influenced by the fine lutes and violins crafted in the towns surrounding his native Bergamo, in Lombardy.

    Provenance

    1964, Bruno Lorenzelli Antichità, Bergamo, Italy; 1964, sold by Lorenzelli to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 14, 1964)

    Credit Line

    Charles Potter Kling Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    72.4 x 98.5 cm (28 1/2 x 38 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    64.1947

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with a Guitar

    1925
    Juan Gris (Spanish (worked in France), 1887–1927)

    Description

    One of the leading Cubists, Gris always resisted the extreme fragmentation of form seen in the early Cubism of Picasso and Braque. In his still lifes of the 1920s Gris’s aspiration towards a pure, “classical” Cubism is revealed in the clarity of his treatment of objects. In 1921 he remarked: “I work with the elements of the intellect, with the imagination. I try to make concrete that which is abstract. I proceed from the general to the particular, by which I mean that I start with an abstraction in order to arrive at a true fact.”

    Inscription

    Lower left: Juan Gris 25

    Provenance

    1925, Galerie Simon, Paris (stock no. 9011); November 20, 1925, sold by the Galerie Simon to Gottlieb Friedrich Reber (b. 1880 - d. 1959), Lausanne; by 1933, sold by Reber to Paul de Frassari Adamidi Bey (b. 1901/02 - d. mid-1980s), Geneva [see note 1]. 1951, with the Galerie Charpentier, Paris (?) [see note 2]. Galerie Kleinmann, Paris. By 1960, George David Thompson (b. 1899 - d. 1965), Pittsburgh [see note 3]. Silberman Galleries, New York (?) [see note 4]. 1961, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., St. Louis, MO; 1967, gift of Pulitzer to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 1967) NOTES: [1] Gottlieb Friedrich Reber was an important collector of Cubist art who purchased twenty-eight pictures by Gris at the Galerie Simon on November 20, 1925. He sold this painting to Paul de Frassari Adamidi Bey; see Dorothy Kosinksi, "G. F. Reber: collector of Cubism," Burlington Magazine 133 (August 1991): p. 530. Bey lent the painting to the exhibition "Juan Gris," Kunsthaus, Zurich, April 2-26, 1933, cat. no. 127. [2] According to Douglas Cooper, "Juan Gris, catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint," vol. 2 (Paris, 1977), cat. no. 531, p. 356, the painting was included in the exhibition "Natures Mortes Françaises," Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1951 (cat. no. 78, "La guitarre," no lender named). [3] According to information provided by the Beyeler Gallery, Basel (August 4, 2004), Thompson consigned the work to the gallery and it was returned to him. While on consignment, the painting was included in the exhibition "Thompson Collection," Kunsthaus, Zurich (October 15 - November 27, 1960); Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (December 14, 1960 - January 29, 1961); and Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (February 17 - April 9, 1961). [4] "Silberman" is written in chalk on the reverse of the painting stretcher.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Joseph Pulitzer, Jr.

    Details

    Dimensions

    73 x 94.6 cm (28 3/4 x 37 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    67.1161

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Europe

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  • Musical Instruments and Sculpture in a Classical Interior

    Unidentified artist, Italian (Italian), Formerly attributed to Bartolomeo Bettera (Italian, 1624–1687)

    Description

    Provenance

    By 1913, with the heirs of George A. Kettell; 1913, gift of the heirs of George A. Kettell. (Accession date: April 3, 1913)

    Credit Line

    Gift of the heirs of George A. Kettell

    Details

    Dimensions

    96.5 x 131.7 cm (38 x 51 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    RES.13.3

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Europe

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  • The Kitchen Table

    17[55?]
    Jean Siméon Chardin (French, 1699–1779)

    Description

    This still life of humble kitchen wares, and another depicting elegant serving utensils, were exhibited as a pair at the Salon of 1757. Close examination reveals that Chardin changed the position of many objects as he painted, evidence of his painstaking craftsmanship and determination to create harmonious balance in what appear to be casual groupings. The reworking of the mortar and pestle at the right is most apparent to the naked eye.

    Signed

    Lower right: Chardin / 17[55?]

    Provenance

    1757, Ange-Laurent de La Live de Jully (b. 1725 - d. 1770), Paris (probably original commission) [see note 1]. By 1779, Johann Anton de Peters (b. 1725 - d. 1795), Cologne and Paris; March 9, 1779, Peters sale, Remy and Basan, Paris, lot 104 (bought in for 130.1 livres) [see note 2]; by descent to Mme. Johann Anton (Elisabeth Marie Gouel de Villebrune) de Peters (b. 1738 - d. 1785), Paris; November 9, 1787, Mme. de Peters estate sale, Le Brun, Paris, lot 165 (bought in for 98 livres). May 2, 1791, du Charteaux estate and others sale, Le Brun, Paris, lot 146, to Sollier for Pierre Remy (b. 1715 - d. 1797), Paris, for 100 livres. Cesar-Louis-Marie Villeminot (b. 1749 - d. 1807), Paris; May 25, 1807, posthumous Villeminot sale, Paillet, Paris, lot 13, to Pierre-Joseph Renoult (b. 1760), Paris, for 23.95 francs. Peter Chardon Brooks (b. 1798 - d. 1880), Boston; by inheritance to Mrs. Peter Chardon (Susan Oliver Heard) Brooks (b. 1806 - 1884), Boston; 1880, gift of Mrs. Peter Chardon Brooks to the MFA. (Accession date: October 16, 1880) NOTES: [1] La Live de Jully owned the painting at the time of the 1757 Salon, where it was exhibited (no. 33). The 1791 Le Brun auction catalogue indicates that the painting and its companion piece "were made with care for Juli de La Live." See Pierre Rosenberg, "Chardin 1699-1779" (Cleveland, 1979), p. 305. [2] From 1779 to 1807, the painting was sold in the same lot as its companion piece, "Butler's Pantry Table" by Chardin, with the exception of the 1787 de Peters estate sale, when it was sold alone. See Eric M. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston" (Boston, 1998), pp. 94-97.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Peter Chardon Brooks

    Details

    Dimensions

    39.7 x 47.6 cm (15 5/8 x 18 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    80.512

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Robert and Ruth Remis Gallery (Gallery 244)

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  • Butcher Shop

    1642
    David Teniers the Younger (Flemish, 1610–1690)

    Description

    Is it a butcher’s shop? Is it a kitchen? In this detailed view—likely Teniers’s earliest of slaughtered animals—the artist carefully rendered each component of the slaughtered ox: its head and hide in the lower left corner, the thickly painted flayed body front and center, and its lungs and liver on the chopping block. Since the early Middle Ages, slaughtering cattle and the use of the entire carcass had been regarded as a prudent provision for winter. The sieve hanging on the wall at left was a traditional attribute of the allegorical figure, Sapientia (Wisdom)—a possible nod of approval to the woman’s work.

    Provenance

    Until 1771, Louis de Moni (b. 1698 - d. 1771), Leyden [see note 1]; April 13, 1772, de Moni sale, Leyden, lot 109. 1782, Dirk Haak, Leyden; April 18, 1782, Haak sale, Leyden, lot 19, to J. W. Heybroek; April 9, 1788, Heybroek sale, Rotterdam, lot 79, to Heybroek. 1789, Hendrik Twent, Leyden; August 11, 1789, Twent sale, Leyden, lot 49, to Delfos. 1880, Paul Pavlovich Demidoff, 2nd Prince of San Donato (b. 1839 - d. 1885), Florence; March 15 - April 10, 1880, Demidoff sale, San Donato Palace, lot 1030, to Stanton Blake (b. 1837 - d. 1889), Boston; 1889, purchased under the will of Stanton Blake by the MFA. (Accession Date: December 24, 1889) NOTES: [1] This and the following provenance information (through 1789) comes from Peter C. Sutton et al., "The Age of Rubens" (exh. cat. Boston, 1993), p. 423, cat. no. 69.

    Credit Line

    Sidney Bartlett Bequest

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 68.4 x 98cm (26 15/16 x 38 9/16in.) Framed: 88.9 x 116.8 cm (35 x 46 in.)

    Accession Number

    89.500

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Leo and Phyllis Beranek Gallery (Gallery 243)

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    Europe

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  • Still Life with Dead Partridge and Kingfisher

    Simon Peeterz. Verelst (Dutch (active in England), 1644–1721)

    Description

    In his twenties, Verelst moved to London, where he established his reputation painting flower pictures and portraits for the court of King Charles II. His rare gamepieces usually focus on a partridge, an expensive delicacy that he painted with great sensitivity to detail, texture, and color. Although dead animals were routinely hung on the walls in Dutch kitchens and markets, Verelst avoided any reference to a domestic or commercial context, silhouetting his dramatically lit birds before a neutral, shadowy background.

    Inscription

    Lower left, on stone ledge: S. verelst F.

    Provenance

    1880, Paul Pavlovich Demidoff, 2nd Prince of San Donato (b. 1839 - d. 1885), San Donato, Italy; March 15 - April 10, 1880, Demidoff sale, San Donato Palace, lot 1043, to Stanton Blake (b. 1837 - d. 1889), Boston; 1889, purchased under the will of Stanton Blake. (Accession Date: December 24, 1889)

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution

    Details

    Dimensions

    74.6 x 62.9 cm (29 3/8 x 24 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    90.202

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Dead Birds and Hunting Equipment in a Landscape

    Jan Weenix (Dutch, 1642–1719)

    Description

    Inscription

    The initials JW [joined] that appeared at lower right were deemed false and removed during the 1978 cleaning of the painting.

    Provenance

    By 1901, Helen Bigelow (Mrs. Daniel) Merriman (b. 1844 - d. 1933), Boston [see note 1]; by descent to her daughter-in-law, Dorothea Foote (Mrs. Roger) Merriman (b. 1880 - d. 1970), Cambridge, MA; 1941, gift of Mrs. Merriman to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 13, 1941) NOTES: [1] Mrs. Merriman lent this painting to the Worcester Art Museum in 1901. It was formerly attributed to Snyders.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Roger Merriman

    Details

    Dimensions

    97.8 x 83.8 cm (38 1/2 x 33 in.)

    Accession Number

    41.744

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center ( 130.10)

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  • Still Life - Fish

    about 1900
    William Merritt Chase (American, 1849–1916)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: Wm M. Chase.

    Provenance

    About 1900, the artist; 1908, sold by the artist to the MFA for $3,000. (Accession Date: December 10, 1908)

    Credit Line

    The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    113.03 x 142.56 cm (44 1/2 x 56 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    08.453

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Suzanne and Terrence Murray Gallery (Gallery 226)

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  • Still Life with Violin

    1885
    William Michael Harnett (American (born in Ireland), 1848–1892 American)

    Description

    Inscription

    WMHARNETT [initials in monogram] /Paris. 1885

    Provenance

    the artist; private collection; with Sotheby's, New York, 1979; to private collection; to MFA, 2000, purchase. Previous owner: Estate of Lois F. McNeil.

    Credit Line

    Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously and the Charles H. Bayley Picture and Painting Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.93 x 45.08 cm (21 5/8 x 17 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    2000.2

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on panel

    On View

    Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238)

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  • My Mother's Hats

    1943
    Loïs Mailou Jones (American, 1905–1998)

    Description

    Jones studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and her earliest works are designs for textiles and costumes. In the 1930s, she turned to painting, continuing her studies in Paris. She taught at Howard University from 1930 to 1977 and in 1973 she was the first African-American woman to be given a one-person show at the MFA. This painting, which depicts three elaborate hats designed by Jones’s milliner mother, is typical of her richly colored and freely-brushed style of the 1940s.

    Provenance

    the artist; to her estate; to MFA, 2005, gift of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust.

    Credit Line

    Gift of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust

    Copyright

    © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust

    Details

    Dimensions

    45.7 x 53.3 cm (18 x 21 in.)

    Accession Number

    2005.215

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Still Life of Bottles and Pitcher

    1946
    Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890–1964)

    Description

    Morandi’s still lifes are essays in economy. Small vessels, thoughtfully arranged, appear to us at once as real objects, caressed by light and enveloped in space, as geometric forms in elegant proportion, and as strokes of paint, a veil of muted color through which we can make out his pale preparation layer, the weave of his canvas. Like Picasso, Morandi admired Cézanne, populating his pictures with homely household objects and struggling to see them anew. He painted variations on this particular arrangement three times in 1946, each one a triumph of simplicity.

    Inscription

    Lower center: Morandi

    Provenance

    1946, with Pietro Rollino, Rome [see note 1]. 1959, with Galleria dell'Annunciata, Milan. 1961, Galleria Lorenzelli, Milan; sold by Lorenzelli to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 20, 1961) NOTES: [1] According to notes in the MFA curatorial file.

    Credit Line

    Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund

    Copyright

    © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome.

    Details

    Dimensions

    25.1 x 45.1 cm (9 7/8 x 17 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    61.662

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Europe

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  • Still Life with Carp

    Pierre Nichon (French (Dijonnais), active in 1645–1655), After Sebastian Stoskopff (German, about 1596–1657)

    Description

    After a painting in the Musée de Clamecy at Nevers

    Signed

    Lower left: P Nichon F

    Provenance

    Art dealer, Dijon; by 1951, sold by the dealer to Jean Neger, Paris; sold by Neger to an unknown art dealer [see note 1]. Private collection, Paris [see note 2]. 1963, Heim Gallery, Paris; 1963, sold by Heim to the MFA for $5,000. (Accession Date: November 13, 1963) NOTES: [1] Neger, an art dealer, lent the painting to the exhibition "Natures Mortes Françaises du XVIIème Siècle à nos jours" (Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1951), no. 129, according to a letter from Colette Ducluzeau, Galerie Charpentier (October 1, 1964). Ms. Ducluzeau indicated that Neger said he acquired the painting from a small dealer in Dijon and sold it to another dealer. In a letter to the MFA (July 26, 1964), Dirk Hannema said that he recalled seeing "two still lifes of the same subject with the art dealer Neger" in 1949, but he did not identify either one with the MFA composition. He also said he believed that the MFA painting was once in the R. Payelle collection, a suggestion which has been repeated in literature on the picture. However, the Payelle painting was sold November 23, 1972, Palais Galliera, Paris, lot 46, and therefore cannot be identical with the one at the MFA, acquired in 1963. See Pierre Rosenberg, "France in the Golden Age: A Postscript," Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal 17 (1982): p. 32, cat. no. 75. [2] According to information provided by Heim at the time of the painting's acquisition.

    Credit Line

    Francis Welch Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    49.21 x 59.05 cm (19 3/8 x 23 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    63.1628

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center ( 130.10)

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    Europe

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  • La Cheminée

    1909
    Walter Gay (American, 1856–1937)

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: Walter Gay

    Provenance

    The artist; to Louis Gillet, Chateau de Chaalis, France, 1921; to the artist, Chateau de Beau, 1923; to Mrs. Walter Gay, his wife; to MFA, 1939, gift of Mrs. Walter Gay.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Walter Gay

    Details

    Dimensions

    54.61 x 45.72 cm (21 1/2 x 18 in.)

    Accession Number

    39.735

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on paperboard mounted on wooden stretcher

    Not On View

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  • Dollarfish and Sheepshead

    1860
    William Aiken Walker (American, 1839–1921 American)

    Description

    In the decades before the American Civil War, still lifes of fish and game could be found in many of the finer homes of Charleston, South Carolina, where hunting and fishing were popular pastimes among wealthy gentleman. Such paintings announced the owner’s prosperity and his prowess as a sportsman. Walker, just twenty-one and limited in his formal art training, produced this highly naturalistic portrayal of two species of saltwater fish hanging on strings from square-headed nails. Shadows cast against the distinctive yellow of the Southern Pine planks suggest depth, completing the illusionistic effect.

    In the art of the United States, such convincing “trompe l’oeil” technique is more frequently associated with artists of the late nineteenth century, among them William Michael Harnett [39.761], John Frederick Peto [62.278, 64.411], and De Scott Evans [1984.86]. Working twenty years before those painters came to prominence, Walker’s still lifes responded to an established regional tradition. Most prominently visible in Charleston during Walker’s youth was the work of Charles Fraser. A generation older than Walker, Fraser had painted similar game scenes of birds or fish hanging from square headed nails against pine board planks. Fraser’s paintings were exhibited in Charleston in 1857 and two still lifes of Sheepshead were included in the display. Walker must have been familiar with Fraser’s examples, or others of this type. Such still lifes occupied Walker for only a few years. After the Civil War, Walker turned his attention to the genre scenes for which he is best known. While his unabashedly derogatory portrayals of African Americans are troubling for modern audiences, these views of agrarian life in the Old South found a ready audience in the late nineteenth century among white Southerners who were nostalgic for the antebellum past.

    Cody Hartley

    Inscription

    Lower left: WAW 1860. [WAW in monogram]

    Provenance

    The artist; sold at auction, Bedford Village, New York; with Arnold Seligmann, Rey, & Co., New York, 1943; to Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1943; to MFA, 1948, gift of Martha C. (Mrs. Maxim) Karolik.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815-1865

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.59 x 51.12 cm (24 1/4 x 20 1/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.485

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238)

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  • The Chinese God

    1919

    Description

    Inscription

    Lower left: S. HALPERT - 19

    Provenance

    The artist; John T. Spaulding, by 1920; to MFA, 1948, bequest of John T. Spaulding.

    Credit Line

    Bequest of John T. Spaulding

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.)

    Accession Number

    48.561

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Fruit and a Jug on a Table

    1916
    Jean Metzinger (French, 1883–1956)

    Description

    Metzinger was an early adopter of Cubism. Less radical than Picasso and Braque, he tempered geometric abstraction in his pictures with a stylish art-deco design sensibility. The objects he depicted tend to retain recognizable forms, as we see here in the rounded fruits, the liquor bottle with its legible label, the wineglass and pitcher. His paintings quickly found an appreciative audience in Paris and were widely collected in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Inscription

    Lower left: Metzinger Reverse: Peint par moi / en 1916 / Metzinger

    Provenance

    April 1919, with Léonce Rosenberg (b. 1877 - d. 1947), Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, Paris [see note 1]. By 1955, art market, Paris; by 1955, sold by an unknown dealer, Paris, to Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London [see note 2 ]; 1957, sold by Marlborough Fine Art to the MFA for £1,200. (Accession Date: January 10, 1957) NOTES: [1] A fragmentary label on the reverse, dated April 1919, bears the name of Léonce Rosenberg and the Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, which Rosenberg founded in 1918. A collector of contemporary French art, Rosenberg had signed a contract with Metzinger in 1916: in exchange for a monthly stipend the dealer was granted the exclusive rights to Metzinger's artistic production. [2] This information comes from a letter from Marlborough Fine Art to W. G. Constable of the MFA (January 22, 1957), in the MFA curatorial file.

    Credit Line

    Fanny P. Mason Fund in memory of Alice Thevin

    Copyright

    © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

    Details

    Dimensions

    115.9 x 81 cm (45 5/8 x 31 7/8 in.) Framed: 148 x 113 x 7 cm (58 1/4 x 44 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    57.3

    Medium or Technique

    Oil and sand on canvas

    Not On View

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  • Still Life with Sweetmeats

    Unidentified artist, Spanish, 17th century (Spanish)

    Description

    The friezelike arrangement of tipped and propped confections suggests a display in a shop window. The boxes hold glazed fruit and candy and sticks of brown sugar; in the center is a broken piece of gingerbread. At the time this picture was painted, Spanish colonies on the islands of the Caribbean led the world in the production and export of sugar. Rare and expensive, sugar was available only to the privileged few, and this modest image by an unknown artist may have been understood as a status symbol or even as a proud reminder of Spain’s preeminence among European powers.

    Provenance

    Anonymous collection, Spain. Anonymous dealer, Switzerland; sold by this dealer to Frederick Mont, New York; 1962, sold by Mont to the MFA for $7,000 [see note 1]. (Accession Date: February 14, 1962) NOTES: [1] In a letter to the MFA (October 26, 1962), Mont said that "the painting comes from Spain. We purchased it from an agent in Switzerland."

    Credit Line

    M. Theresa B. Hopkins Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    39.7 x 72.1 cm (15 5/8 x 28 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    62.172

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    Not On View

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    Europe

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  • Free Sample, Take One

    about 1890
    De Scott Evans (American, 1847–1898 American)

    Description

    The son of a doctor, Evans grew up in the Midwestern United States and taught at several schools in the region before traveling to France in 1877 to study with the famed academic artist William Bouguereau [08.186]. He returned to the United States the next year and became co-director of the Cleveland Academy of Fine Arts in Ohio. In 1887 he moved to New York and died eleven years later when the ship he was taking to Paris sank.

    Evans had many pseudonyms. Born David Scott Evans, Jr., he signed his early works D. S. Evans or D. Scott Evans. During his year in Paris with Bouguereau, he changed his first name to “De Scott.” He signed most of his trompe l’oeil still lifes with the names Scott David, Stanley S. David, or—as in the case of Free Sample, Take One—S. S. David. Scholars theorize that Evans signed his trompe l’oeil still lifes with pseudonyms in order to avoid the critics’ scorn for this kind of painting, reserving De Scott Evans for his more serious ambitious works. [1] Others argue that the still lifes are Evans’s best and most creative works, and suggest the possibility that the still lifes are by another hand. [2]

    Known primarily in his day for his images of elegant upper-class women, Evans painted a number of trompe l’oeil still lifes, including numerous versions of Free Sample, Take One and several other canvases in which he placed almonds rather than peanuts in the niche. [3] Nuts, usually in combination with other objects, had appeared in still lifes since the seventeenth century, but ordinary varieties like peanuts only came of age as a subject in the 1880s when they were given pride of place in the canvases of American artists, notably Joseph Decker (Hard Lot, 1886, destroyed), John Haberle [1984.163] (Fresh Roasted, 1887, private collection), and John Frederick Peto [62.278] (Peanuts―Fresh Roasted, Well Toasted, private collection). [4] It is believed that Evans executed his peanut images in the late 1880s or early 1890s, shortly after he arrived in New York. At that time, many American still-life artists were painting in a trompe l’oeil style, but here Evans carried the conceit further than usual by extending the painted wood grain around the tacking edges of the canvas. Thus the painting, which is not meant to be framed, resembles an actual piece of wood cut from a larger plank. To heighten the sense of actuality, Evans added nicks and chips to the wood and textured the top and bottom edges to create the illusion of the rough end grain.

    At first glance, the commonplace nature of the object combined with the teasing humor of the trompe l’oeil style suggest this is merely a charming and ingenious canvas intended to delight the viewer. However, the possible meanings of the image are not so simple or straightforward. The piece of glass over the recessed area evokes the age-old idea of painting as a window on the world—but cracked and broken, it simultaneously “shatters” that claim. Normally a piece of glass placed over an object implies its value and uniqueness and hence its need for protection, but Evans appears to satirize that notion by protecting nothing more than lowly peanuts, which look and taste virtually the same and can be infinitely substituted for one another. Evans contests the time-honored differences between painting and sculpture by making the canvas into an object. He also disputes the boundaries that ordinarily separate painted from real space by making it seem as if the modeled nuts and the shallow niche project into the viewer’s domain. Though the artist makes every effort to create the sense of an actual object existing in actual space, the glass-covered niche is―paradoxically―the product of his imagination since it corresponds with no known receptacle for displaying or dispensing peanuts. (Haberle and Decker, by contrast, placed their peanuts in jars and bins.) Thus the painter doubly deceives viewers, using the trompe l’oeil style to make them believe in the reality of a fiction.

    Finally, the image is as contentious as it is amusing. While the handwritten note encourages the viewer to sample one of the peanuts, the jagged edges of the broken glass threatens bodily harm to the person who take up the offer. Should he successfully remove on the peanuts, he runs the probable risk that the entire stack will come tumbling down. Evans leaves us wondering whether a previous spectator, irritated with the glass that denied him what the note invited him to take, broke the pane.

    Notes
    1. William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke, American Still-Life Painting (New York: Praeger, 1971), 168.
    2. Nannette V. Maciejunes, A New Variety, Try One: De Scott Evans or S. S. David (Columbus, Ohio: Columbus Museum of Art, 1985), 11, 18.
    3. On the other versions of Free Sample, Take One, see William H. Gerdts, Painters of the Humble Truth (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1981), 203, and Maciejunes, A New Variety, 32n9.
    4. On these and other peanut paintings, see Gerdts and Burke, American Still-Life Painting, 168, and Maciejunes, A New Variety, 7.

    This text was adapted from Karyn Esielonis, Still-Life Painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994).

    Inscription

    Lower right: S.S. David

    Provenance

    The artist; with Sotheby's, New York, December 8, 1983, lot 50; with James Maroney; to MFA, 1984, purchase.

    Credit Line

    Emily L. Ainsley Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    30.48 x 25.4 cm (12 x 10 in.)

    Accession Number

    1984.86

    Medium or Technique

    Oil on canvas

    On View

    Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238)

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  • Study of Nut Shells, roots, etc.

    undated
    Jules Ferdinand Jacquemart (French, 1837–1880)

    Description

    Provenance

    Louis Gonse, Paris; acquired June 1921

    Credit Line

    Duplicate Print Fund and Gift of George Peabody Gardner

    Details

    Dimensions

    23 x 25 cm (9 1/8 x 9 7/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    21.11630

    Medium or Technique

    Watercolor on paper

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Watercolors

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  • Vessel

    1993
    Olivia Parker (American, born in 1941)

    Description

    Olivia Parker’s photographs question the supposed objectivity of the medium. She organizes juxtapositions of the real that lead us into fantasy worlds. Vessel is the simplest of constructions: a beautiful bottle filled with water and photographed in strong, natural light. The large scale of the print reveals a world within the bottle, both real and illusory. Tiny air bubbles punctuate the watery atmosphere, and shadows cast by the decorative bottleneck swirl about like lissome fish. But equally present is the reflection of a vaulted room whose windows look out onto surrounding trees. The bottle itself has no context. Floating against a black background, it is removed from reality, and its contents become an otherworldly message within a crystal ball.

    Inscription

    Edition: 3/30.

    Provenance

    Mrs. George R. Rowland, Sr., Boston, MA; gift November 1993.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. George R. Rowland, Sr.

    Copyright

    Olivia Parker © 1993

    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 50.5 x 43.2 cm (19 7/8 x 17 in.) Frame: 63.5 x 54 cm (25 x 21 1/4 in.)

    Accession Number

    1993.714

    Medium or Technique

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Not On View

    Collections

    Americas, Contemporary Art, Photography

    Classifications

    Photographs

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  • Sèvres Vase

    1855
    Louis-Rémy Robert (French, 1811–1882 French)

    Description

    Louis-Rémy Robert was the head of the painting and gilding studios at the Sèvres porcelain works. This majestic depiction of a vase is part of a series of images that Robert exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, in Paris, to showcase outstanding Sèvres pieces. Robert set the vase against a display of drapery to dramatize its sculptural form and included a small measuring guide to indicate its noble scale. The vessel’s gleaming surface, exquisite painting, and finely modeled detail are enhanced by the use of a glass negative yet softened by the matte surface of the salted paper print. Although made for publicity and documentation, the photograph itself achieves the status of an art object.

    Inscription

    In neg., letterpress, l.l.: L. Robert Photo ie / Sèvres. In neg. letterpress, l.r.: Exposition de Sèvres / 1855.

    Provenance

    Nineteenth Century Photographs, Essex, England; purchased June 1998.

    Credit Line

    Gift of Jessie H. Wilkinson—Jessie H. Wilkinson Fund

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 32.0 x 25.7 cm (12 5/8 x 10 1/8 in.) Platemark: 39.1 x 33.7 cm (15 3/8 x 13 1/4 in.) Mount: 52.4 x 41.6 cm (20 5/8 x 16 3/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    1998.72

    Medium or Technique

    Photograph, salted paper print from wet-collodion-on-glass negative

    Not On View

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    Europe, Photography

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    Photographs

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  • Pea, English Wonder

    about 1895–1910
    Charles Jones (English, 1866–1959)

    Description

    Inscription

    signed and inscribed on verso in pencil: Pea/ English Wonder/ CJ

    Provenance

    Davis & Langdale Company, Inc., New York; purchased by MFA, Dec. 18, 2002.

    Credit Line

    Lucy Dalbiac Luard Fund

    Copyright

    Reproduced with permission.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/sheet: 10.8 x 15.1 cm (4 1/4 x 5 15/16 in.)

    Accession Number

    2002.626

    Medium or Technique

    Photograph, gold-toned gelatin silver print

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

    Classifications

    Photographs

    More Info
  • The Shell

    1650
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

    Description

    Inscription

    In plate, l.l.: Rembrandt. f. 1650; in graphite, verso, u.l.:EH / FOP; l.l.: B159

    Markings

    stamped in black ink: mark of Firmin-Didot [Lugt 119]; stamped in red ink, mark of Sewall [Lugt 1309]

    Provenance

    Ambroise Firmin-Didot (b. 1790 - d. 1876; Lugt 119), Paris; May 9, 1877, posthumous Firmin-Didot sale, Paris, Danlos, Delisle, and Pawlowski, Paris, lot 921, sold for 980 fr. Henry F. Sewall (b. 1816 - d. 1896; Lugt 1309), New York; 1897, sold by Sewall to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: October 21, 1897) NOTES: [1] Henry F. Sewall offered his collection to the MFA for purchase in 1888. That purchase was finalized and executed in 1897, one year after his death.

    Credit Line

    Harvey D. Parker Collection—Harvey Drury Parker Fund

    Details

    Catalogue Raisonné

    Bartsch 159; Hind 248 ii/ii

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 9.7 x 13.2 cm (3 13/16 x 5 3/16 in.) Sheet: 10.9 x 14.3 cm (4 5/16 x 5 5/8 in.)

    Accession Number

    P553

    Medium or Technique

    Etching and drypoint

    Not On View

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

    Classifications

    Prints

    More Info

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