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MFA Images: Fruit

  • MFA Images: Fruit - Slide

  • Curved branch of litchi nuts

    1633

    Description
    Details

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    50.533

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Double branch of litchi nuts

    1633

    Description
    Details

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    50.646

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Fraisier à Bouquets From P. J. Redouté, Choix des Plus Belles...

    published 1827

    After Pierre- Joseph Redouté (French, born in Flanders, 1759–1840)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 27 x 21.3 cm (10 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.) Sheet: 35.6 x 25 cm (14 x 9 13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Stipple engraving, printed in color and hand-colored

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    69.287

    Collections

    Prints and Drawings

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  • Peach tree

    1890–1920

    Unidentified artist, French, 19th century (French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 14.6 x 9.8 cm (5 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.874

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 22.9 x 29.2 cm (9 xx 11 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.870

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Oranges

    cancelled 1905

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 8.8 x 13.8 cm (3 7/16 x 5 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color lithograph; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.18684

    Collections

    Asia, Prints and Drawings

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  • Four oranges on a leafy branch

    13th–14th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    22.9 x 22.9 cm (9 x 9 in.)

    Medium

    Ink and color on silk

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    14.66

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Orange, grapes and pomegranates

    13th century

    Lu Zonggui (Chinese, 13th century Chinese)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    24 x 25.8 cm (9 7/16 x 10 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Ink and color on silk

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    50.1454

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Papaya (Fructu oblongo melonis effigie)

    published 1750–73

    After Georg Dionysus Ehret (German, 1708–1770 German)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Platemark: 43 x 28.6 cm (16 15/16 x 11 1/4 in.) Sheet: 52 x 34.2 cm (20 1/2 x 13 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Hand-colored engraving

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    69.187

    Collections

    Prints and Drawings

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  • A Lunch

    1876

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    51.18 x 41.02 cm (20 1/8 x 16 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1999.257

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Embroidered picture

    early 19th century

    Attributed to Elizabeth Derby West (American, 1762–1814)

    Description

    Whilte satin ground embroidered with basket of fruit and a bird in polychrome silk; octagonal wood frame

    Details

    Dimensions

    52.5 x 48.5 x 3 cm (20 11/16 x 19 1/8 x 1 3/16 in.) Including frame

    Medium

    Silk satin embroidered with silk

    Classification

    Textiles

    Accession Number

    39.245

    Collections

    Americas, Textiles and Fashion Arts

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  • Pear, Buerre Superfine

    1895–1910

    Charles Jones (English, 1866–1959 English)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Image: 10.8 x 15.2 cm (4 1/4 x 6 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gold-toned gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2004.2186

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Flowers from Shakespeare's Garden: A Posy from the Plays

    1906

    Illustrated by Walter Crane (English, 1845–1915)

    Description

    London: Cassell & Co., 1906

    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 25.4 x 19.1 x 1.3 cm (10 x 7 1/2 x 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Illustrated book with color offset lithographs

    Classification

    Illustrated Books

    Accession Number

    63.731

    Collections

    Europe, Prints and Drawings

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  • Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 22.9 x 29.2 cm (9 x 11 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.869

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Malaga Grape

    1890–1920

    Unidentified artist "TS" or "ST"; French, 19th century (French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 28.6 x 22.5 cm (11 1/4 x 8 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, albumen print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    2002.868

    Collections

    Europe, Photography

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  • Peaches in a Bowl

    about 1925

    Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965 American)

    Description

    Still-life painting was of such importance to Sheeler that he wrote an essay on the subject in about 1925 (unpublished, Forbes Watson Papers, Archives of American Art, Reel D56: 1094). In this essay, Sheeler made clear his admiration of Paul Cézanne, whose work he had seen during a trip to Europe in 1908-09 and subsequently in New York City. He realized that Cézanne's "selection [of objects] is based upon preference in the matter of shapes, surfaces, and quantities related to a geometric structure," and attempted to develop a similar underlying structure in his own work. Sheeler, like Cézanne, favored the genre because he could control the content, layout, and lighting in the pictures. He began making tabletop still lifes as early as 1910, but the mid-1920s were a particularly productive period for him. Sheeler's compositions usually included either fruit or flowers, often arranged in his growing collection of early American glassware and pottery. As Troyen and Hirshler remark, most of Sheeler's pictures of this type are "plain - the flowers were never exotic species, the glassware and furnishings were distinguished by their proportions rather than by surface embellishments - and he rendered them in an understated, self-effacing way" (Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, "Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings," Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987, p. 106).

    "Peaches in a Bowl" is deceptively simple; it portrays two pieces of fruit in a glass compote on a table. Sheeler painted the arrangement as if he were photographing it from above, using a tightly framed, close-up view, which has the effect of tilting up the surface and making his subject seem powerfully immediate. There is subtle tension in the composition. The blue table does not form the anticipated straight line across the background of the picture; the left edge is inexplicably lower than the right. The compote is off-center and cropped on the right. The fruit occupies the left side of the glass container, and together with the shadow, has the effect of making the upper left portion of the picture dense compared with the emptiness in the lower right. This serves to undermine our expectation that the still-life will have a solid base.

    The off-center placement of the compote and its contents may derive from Sheeler's study of Cézanne's paintings, which often reveal asymmetric compositions [see 48.524]. Equally Cézannesque are the juxtaposition of chromatic opposites - the yellow-orange fruit against the intensely blue table; the broad, parallel brushstrokes that define the peaches; and the sense of the subject as a vignette removed from its context. The geometric shapes - spheres, circles and squares - of the peaches and compote, and the tension between realism and abstraction, invigorate Sheeler's rendering just as they energized the still lifes of the artist he so admired.

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    25.08 x 20.32 cm (9 7/8 x 8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1997.130

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fruit and a Jug on a Table

    1916

    Jean Metzinger (French, 1883–1956 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil and sand on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    57.3

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Basket of Flowers and Fruits

    1770–1822

    After Gerard van Spaendonck (Dutch, active in France, 1746–1822...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 53.6 x 42.3 cm (21 1/8 x 16 5/8 in. )

    Medium

    Watercolor

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    1988.506

    Collections

    Prints and Drawings

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  • Branch of apples (?)

    1633

    Description
    Details

    Classification

    Books and manuscripts, Books

    Accession Number

    50.641

    Collections

    Asia

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  • Love Apples

    about 1910–13

    Edna Boies Hopkins (American, 1872–1937 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 36.7 x 28.6 cm (14 7/16 x 11 1/4 in.) Block: 27.7 x 18.6 cm (10 7/8 x 7 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Color woodcut

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    48.892

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Fruit Displayed on a Stand

    about 1881–82

    Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894 French)

    Description

    Caillebotte delighted in unusual vantage points and compositions. This close-up view of fruit stacked on a market stand creates a bold pattern of repeated forms and colors, while the sensuous brushstrokes suggest the lusciousness of the fruit. A loyal and well-to-do member of the Impressionist group, Caillebotte bequeathed his extensive painting collection to the state. It became the nucleus of the Impressionist collection now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

    Details

    Dimensions

    76.5 x 100.6 cm (30 1/8 x 39 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1979.196

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Pomona Britannica; or, A Collection of the Most Esteemed Fruits...

    1812

    After George Brookshaw (English, 1751–1823 English)

    Description

    London: T. Bensley, for the author [et al.], 1812

    Details

    Dimensions

    Each sheet: 57.5 x 46.5 cm (22 5/8 x 18 5/16 in.) Book (closed): 59.1 x 48.3 x 5.1cm (23 1/4 x 19 x 2in.)

    Medium

    Illustrated book with 90 hand-colored aquatints

    Classification

    Illustrated Books

    Accession Number

    1988.527

    Collections

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  • Still Life with Teapot, Grapes, Chestnuts, and a Pear

    17[64?]

    Jean Siméon Chardin (French, 1699–1779 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    32.1 x 40 cm (12 5/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    83.177

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Vegetables and a Basket of Fruit on a Table

    Attributed to Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579–1657)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    83.8 x 95.9 cm (33 x 37 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    89.499

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fruit and a Wineglass

    Antoine Vollon (French, 1833–1900 French)

    Description

    Although his work was neglected for many years after his death, Vollon was a critical and commercial success in his lifetime and won many official honors. He painted figures, animals, and landscapes, but earned his reputation and his living from still life. Contemporary writers often cite Vollon’s work for its realism and truthfulness, which are evident here in the careful attention paid to shapes, colors, and textures.

    Details

    Dimensions

    25.7 x 40.0 cm (10 1/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.3144

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Melon and Pears

    about 1772

    Luis Meléndez (Spanish, 1716–1780 Spanish)

    Description

    Meléndez favored arrangements of everyday objects painted with sober yet sensuous realism. He savored shapes, surfaces, and colors—from the webbed rind of the melon to the glint of a wine bottle cooling in a cork bucket—and despite the profusion of objects, his paintings convey a satisfying sense of balance and measure. This still life may be from a series of forty-five, said to represent “every species of food produced in Spain,” that Meléndez created for the king’s summer residence outside Madrid. Ironically, many were painted at a time when poor harvests had produced severe food shortages. The artist himself had no money to buy food, claiming that his brush was his only asset.

    Details

    Dimensions

    63.8 x 85.1 cm (25 1/8 x 33 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.41

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Fruit in a Bowl

    1850s–60s

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    56.83 x 69.53 cm (22 3/8 x 27 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    42.116

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Grapes, Peaches and Quinces in a Niche

    Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579–1657)

    Description

    Snyders painted many different kinds of still-life subjects, from large kitchen pieces to intimate representations of flowers. Some of his compositions are complex and dynamic; others, such as this one, are more focused and quiet. His brushwork, too, is sometimes precise and barely perceptible, sometimes more fluid, or, as here, almost sketchy. The low viewpoint of this painting, emphasized by the shadow of the box that overlaps the edge of the niche, suggests that it was intended to be hung high, perhaps over a door.

    Details

    Dimensions

    75.2 x 54.3 cm (29 5/8 x 21 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    46.59

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Apples and Chestnuts

    1859

    John F. Francis (American, 1808–1886 American)

    Description

    From the time of James Peale's death in 1831 until the mid-century, few Americans painted still lifes. John Francis was one of a small number of American artists who came to prominence for his work in the genre at this time. He initially earned his living as an itinerant portrait painter whose business took him to rural Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee, and he exhibited works at the Artist's Fund Society in 1840 and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia where he was listed as a resident. Several factors probably influenced his decision to give up portraiture in the early 1850s to focus on still lifes: the market for such works, a product of rising incomes and higher standards of living, and the promise of a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, still life, unlike portraiture, eliminated the possibility of demanding sitters.
    Francis's still lifes fall into three categories: luncheon pictures, dessert images, and canvases, like the present one, which feature large market baskets filled with fruit. Unlike the refined prepared foods and opulent vessels of the luncheon and dessert pictures which suggest a special occasion or an upper-class meal, the common rustic basket and the abundance of newly picked fruit of the third category of pictures evoke images of nature and the countryside's orchards and fields. The image, however, does not lead the viewer to contemplate the process of and labor involved in growing, harvesting, and selling food. Instead, the cut apple, knife, and glasses of cider seem the makings of an impromptu meal, one that takes place perhaps during an afternoon excursion in the country.
    The Boston canvas derives from "Still Life with Yellow Apples" (Detroit Institute of Arts) which Francis painted in 1858. Save for the addition of two walnuts to the left of the knife in the Boston canvas, the two pictures are virtually identical. Both works were preceded by smaller, simpler images of apple-filled baskets. As he does in the present work, Francis often depicted his fruit with brown spots and worm holes. But the associations of disease and decay that those features might suggest in other still lifes are negated by the abundance of food, the sunny palette, and ordered arrangement, all of which combine to evoke visions of plenitude and well-being and fantasies of a simple, uncomplicated rural existence. It is easy to imagine this work hanging in the dining room of a well-appointed urban house.

    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).

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1145

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Delft Plate

    1888

    Julian Alden Weir (American, 1852–1919 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    56.2 x 34.61 cm (22 1/8 x 13 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1289

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Watermelon

    about 1855

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description

    In the mid-nineteenth century, folk painting, the problematic term commonly used to denote works by unschooled or little-trained professionals, found a committed clientele in the lower- to upper-middle classes - tradesmen, merchants, doctors, and lawyers eager to decorate their houses with pictures that provided permanent records of the people they knew, objects they used, and places they lived. Though they were less expensive than canvases by trained artists, folk paintings nonetheless served as tangible evidence of their owners' economic well-being.
    In this painting the awkward attempt to model forms, to develop space three-dimensionally, and to imitate the colors and textures of the various objects indicate that its painter, who is unknown, was aware of but little practiced in the academic methods basic to American artistic training in the nineteenth century. At the same time the clumsy negotiation of the table, oddly shaped plate, and watermelon as well as the skewed table top contribute to the work's charm. Though the artist did not deliberately intend them, the distortions in the space of the picture and shapes of the objects also give the work a peculiarly modern appeal. Those distortions, which are typical of folk art generally, explain in part the revival of interest in studying, collecting, and exhibiting this art beginning in the 1920s when aesthetic sensibilities shaped by exposure to the works of Cezanne and other Post-Impressionist and Cubist artists were receptive to the folk painter's stark, direct style. Paradoxically the current popularity of folk paintings has put them beyond the financial reach of the very kinds of people for whom they were originally made.
    Although European still lifes rarely feature watermelons, they were common in both folk and fine art in the United States. They were, for example, a favored fruit among members of the Peale family, appearing in still lifes by Raphaelle and James Peale as well as pictures by Margaretta Angelica Peale and Sarah Miriam Peale. The watermelon's desirability as a still-life object was two-fold. With its mottled green rind, pink flesh, and dark brown seeds, it offered the painter a variety of colors and textures. Moreover, water melon was a popular American food. The seeds of the watermelon, which originated in Africa, were brought to the United States by slave traders as well as slaves and cultivated throughout the country. Although derogatory associations between African-Americans and watermelons became commonplace in the later decades of the nineteenth century, they were rare at the time this still life was painted. The watermelon, instead, was consumed by members of all classes during the summer when its cool, wet pulp proved most refreshing. In addition to eating the watermelon flesh, people pickled the rind, particularly in New England, and boiled the fruit to make sugar and molasses.

    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).

    Details

    Dimensions

    56.2 x 69.53 cm (22 1/8 x 27 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.410

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Watermelon and Fruit

    1850s

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    42.86 x 53.34 cm (16 7/8 x 21 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.463

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Basket of Fruit

    1860

    Rubens Peale (American, 1784–1865 American)

    Description

    Although Rubens Peale, the fourth son of Charles Willson Peale, was born into a family of artists, he did not begin painting until the last ten years of his life. Because of deficient eyesight, he had not learned to paint with his siblings but had instead devoted his life to directing museums, including his father's, and then had retired to a farm. His interest in horticulture was recorded in an early portrait, "Rubens Peale with a Geranium" by his brother Rembrandt (1801, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) When he took up the brush at age seventy-one, his botanical interests led him to concentrate on "fruit pieces." Lacking a formal artistic education, Peale learned to compose pictures by making copies of other artists' canvases, especially those by his uncle James and brother Raphaelle. "Basket of Fruit,"an original conception, nevertheless shows the influence of Raphaelle Peale in its austerity.

    With Neoclassical restraint, Peale arranged the basket on a shiny table against a plain background. He depicted the strongly-illuminated fruit with botanical accuracy, capturing the white bloom on the grapes and the variegated coloring of the apples. Peale mitigated the static quality of his composition by situating the basket with its slightly tilted handle to the left of center and balancing it with the apple on the table. "Basket of Fruit" is recorded in Peale's painter's register: "49. Fruit. Basket of apples with grapes, "for my niece Anna Sellers." Com[menced] Oct. 22, 1860. Varnished Dec. 19, 1860." After giving the painting to his niece, the seventy-six year old artist wrote in his journal, "I got a letter this evening from Anna Sellers thanking me for the Christmas present of the fruit piece which I painted for her, her brothers are all pleased with it. They are surprised that I could paint so good a picture at my time of life."

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    35.56 x 55.88 cm (14 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.464

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Apples

    1867

    Thomas Worthington Whittredge (American, 1820–1910 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.73 x 30.8 cm (15 1/4 x 12 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.490

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fruit and a Jug on a Table

    about 1890–94

    Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    32.4 x 40.6 cm (12 3/4 x 16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.524

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Goblet and Fruit

    18th or 19th century

    Follower of Jean Siméon Chardin (French, 1699–1779 French)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    33 x 45.4 cm (13 x 17 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.526

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Flowers and a Bowl of Fruit on a Table

    1894

    Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    43.2 x 62.9 cm (17 x 24 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas mounted on paperboard

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.546

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Flowers and Fruit on a Table

    1865

    Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904)

    Description

    Friend to Manet and the Impressionists, but an artist with his own individual style, Fantin-Latour made a specialty of flower pieces. They found a lucrative market, particularly in England, at a time when still-life painting was attracting renewed interest and respect.

    Details

    Dimensions

    60 x 73.3 cm (23 5/8 x 28 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.540

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Basket of Fruit

    about 1864

    Edouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    37.8 x 44.4 cm (14 7/8 x 17 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.576

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Grapes and Walnuts on a Table

    1876

    Alfred Sisley (British (active in France), 1839–1899 British)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    38.1 x 55.2 cm (15 x 21 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.601

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Eggplants and Pears

    1925

    Charles Demuth (American, 1883–1935)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 35.4 x 50.7 cm (13 15/16 x 19 15/16 in.)

    Medium

    Opaque and transparent watercolor over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    48.765

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Study of Fruit

    1877

    John William Hill (American (born in England), 1812–1879 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 15.6 x 27 cm (6 1/8 x 10 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor over graphite on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    55.753

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Fruit Piece

    J. E. Rightmyer (American, 19th century American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 54 x 59.1 cm (21 1/4 x 23 1/4 in.) Framed: 64.1 x 69.2 cm (25 1/4 x 27 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Pastel on paper

    Classification

    Pastels

    Accession Number

    55.780

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Flowers and Fruit

    A. Florian (Active 1800–1835)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 37.1 x 46.4 cm (14 5/8 x 18 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    58.1147

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    Prints and Drawings

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  • Peaches and Pears in a Glass Bowl

    Giovanni Paolo Spadino (Italian (Roman), active about 1687–1703)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    61.2 x 75.9 cm (24 1/8 x 29 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    59.193

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Plate of Peaches

    1862

    Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    18.1 x 32 cm (7 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    60.792

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Fruit

    about 1866

    Joseph Goodhue Chandler (American, 1813–1884 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.267

    Collections

    Americas

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  • Fruit and Flower Piece

    1848

    William Sharp (English, 1749–1824)

    Description

    Fruit and Flower Piece is one of the few known paintings by William Sharp, an artist who worked primarily as a printmaker making illustrating botanical publications. Sharp emigrated from England and in the late 1830s settled in Boston where he was one of the first to experiment with color lithography. Fruit and Flower Piece reflects the aesthetic of Sharp's botanical training: each object is carefully drawn with little modeling and flat coloring, emphasizing a linear elegance rather than a painterly approach. The asymmetrical composition and landscape background are derived from seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish still lifes.
    The flowers and fruits in this lush image hail from a variety of climates and seasons. In a gilded French porcelain vase, Sharp included morning glories, tulips, lilies, foxglove, roses, dahlias, and phlox, as well as two large clusters of grapes. The vase itself is decorated with a landscape that echoes the scene in the background. A basket to the right holds strawberries, currants, and cherries; a peach and perhaps some plums are piled in a white pressed glass dish nearby. More peaches and plums, as well as apples, an exotic pineapple, and a bunch of bananas surround these containers on the marble tabletop. Such bountiful presentations were popular with American still-life painters at this time, suggesting and prosperity abundance to a Victorian audience.

    Karen Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    91.44 x 73.66 cm (36 x 29 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.449

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    Americas

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  • Still Life: Bowl with Fruit and Wine Glass

    1865

    John Edward Hollen (American (born in Germany), 1814–1881 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    35.24 x 45.4 cm (13 7/8 x 17 7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    64.459

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    Americas

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  • Brighton Grapes (from D.M. Dewey, Nurseryman's Pocket Book...

    1875

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 22 x 13.4 cm (8 11/16 x 5 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Stencil

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.546

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    Prints and Drawings

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  • Crawford's Late - (peach)

    1875

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Stencil

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.547

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  • Wilson's Albany (Strawberries) from D.M. Dewey,...

    1875

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 22.2 x 13.7 cm (8 3/4 x 5 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Stencil and watercolor

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.548

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    Prints and Drawings

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  • Duchess of Oldenburg - (apple)

    1875

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Stencil

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.549

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    Prints and Drawings

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  • Dorchester - (blackberries)

    1875

    Artist Unidentified artist, American, 19th century

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Stencil

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.550

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    Prints and Drawings

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  • Crawford's Early - (peach)

    1875

    Artist Anonymous, American, 19th century (American)

    Description
    Details

    Medium

    Lithograph

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    1970.552

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    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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  • Still Life on a Green Table Cloth

    about 1815

    Charles Bird King (American, 1785–1862 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    47.62 x 55.88 cm (18 3/4 x 22 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.184

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    Americas

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  • Apples in a Tin Pail

    1892

    Levi Wells Prentice (American, 1851–1935 American)

    Description

    Fruit continued to be a frequent theme of still life paintings throughout the nineteenth century, despite the growing popularity of floral paintings. De Scott Evans, Joseph Decker, John McCloskey, and Levi Wells Prentice all painted fruit in a hard-edged or trompe l'oeil style during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Almost entirely self-taught, Prentice began his career in 1871 as a landscape painter in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state. It was not until he moved to Brooklyn in 1883 that he began to paint still lifes, usually of fruit, although occasionally of flowers and fish. Prentice supplemented his living by designing furniture, building houses, making frames, and creating stained glass windows. He also made all his own palettes, brushes, easels, frames, and shadow boxes.

    Prentice made painting apples somewhat of a specialty, depicting the fruit in no fewer than forty pictures. In the 1840s, the Boston writer-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson declared the apple to be America's "national fruit." An integral part of the American diet for four centuries, apples have traditionally been used in pies, jellies, applesauce, and cakes, eaten plain or baked, and made into cider-especially hard cider, a staple in the nineteenth century. Prentice's paintings of apples depict the fruit variously spilling out of baskets, bags, and hats on the ground or on a tabletop, growing on boughs, or loosely resting on the ground. The Museum's picture, his best-known still life, shows apples in a tin pail, on a rough table, and in a bowl. Bruised and blemished, the apples are undoubtedly to be used for cooking or for cider. While the subject matter of the painting is humble, Prentice's technique is meticulous. He portrayed each apple with hard-edged realism and painstakingly conveyed the reflections of the apples and the bowl in the curved, gleaming surface of the tin pail. A striking composition of rounded forms in vibrant colors, Prentice's painting celebrates a plentiful harvest in rural America.

    This text was adapted from Davis, et al., MFA Highlights: American Painting (Boston, 2003) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.27 x 33.65 cm (16 1/4 x 13 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1978.468

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    Americas

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  • A Porcelain Bowl with Fruit

    1830

    James Peale (American, 1749–1831 American)

    Description

    A member of the illustrious Peale family, which played a prominent role in the cultural and intellectual life of postcolonial America, James Peale grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and received his artistic training from his older brother Charles Willson Peale, who had studied in London with Benjamin West. After serving in the Continental Army under George Washington, James moved to Philadelphia, where he joined his brother’s portrait studio, painting miniatures while Charles handled the commissions for larger-scale canvases. Though he exhibited a still life in 1795 at the Columbianum exhibition in Philadelphia, James painted few if any still lifes during the next twenty years. His reputation as one of the first professional still-life painters in the United States, a distinction he shares with Charles’s son Raphaelle, rests on the works that he executed between 1819 and 1831 and exhibited at Rembrandt Peale’s Baltimore Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Boston Athenaeum. Why James turned to still life so late in his career is not known, but it may well have been Raphaelle’s example that inspired him. Still-life painting held little economic incentive prior to the second decade of the nineteenth century. By that time the number of exhibitions mounted in the United States began to increase, thus providing painters with more opportunities to display their works to the public, an important consideration in the case of still lifes, which were usually painted on speculation rather than on commission. [1]
    Peale favored pieces of fruit or vegetables or combinations thereof and in general placed them in wicker baskets, directly on a table or shelf, or in a ceramic bowl as he does here. He painted a number of his still lifes in a classical style, emphasizing solid simple forms and balanced rectilinear designs. While the present canvas displays well-modeled pieces of fruit and clearly delineated geometric shapes, a nascent romantic spirit tempers its classical sobriety. Light plays over the objects and the background, illuminating some passages and leaving others in darkness, giving the canvas a faintly moody quality. Bunches of grapes fall languorously from the bowl and lie expressively on the table.The lines bounding the different objects are slightly blurred, and the composition is arranged along a diagonal line that moves from the lower left corner through the center of the picture. As in many of his still lifes, Peale depicted blemishes and brown spots on the pieces of fruit. Those spots not only enhance the naturalism of the image, but also insinuate the specters of death and decay, favored Romantic themes, and link the canvas to the tradition of vanitas still lifes, which remind the viewer of the transience of life.

    On the evidence of the inscription on the original canvas, this work is customarily dated to 1830. James’s nephew Rubens Peale, another son of Charles, painted two copies of this composition that date to 1856 and 1860 (Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York, and Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts). In Rubens’s versions, the light is more evenly distributed, the line tighter, and the composition altogether stiffer.

    Notes
    1.William H. Gerdts, Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life, 1801–1939, exh. cat. (Columbia, Mo.: Philbrook Art Center and University of Missouri Press, 1981), 50–51.

    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).

    Details

    Dimensions

    41.59 x 56.83 cm (16 3/8 x 22 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1979.520

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    Americas

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  • Still Life with Fruit and Dead Birds in a Landscape

    Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo (Italian (Neapolitan), 1629–1693...

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    75 x 36.5 cm (29 1/2 x 14 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    90.82

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    Europe

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  • Tomatoes, Fruit, and Flowers

    about 1860

    Unidentified artist, American, mid-19th century (American)

    Description

    Interest in still-life paintings burgeoned in mid-nineteenth-century America. Large images of varied objects, like this one, were popular for dining rooms, suggesting abundance, well-being, and hospitality. The compote piled high with fruit, bone-handled knife, melons, grapes with their leaves, and flowers are also found in the work of contemporary academic still-life painters such as Severin Roesen and John F. Francis. Their objects, as here, are arranged against a monochrome background modulated with muted light. Unlike academic still lifes, however, this painting seems more additive than integrated. The emphasis is less on texture and atmosphere - a sense of the whole - than on discrete shapes and emphatic contours.
    Although most of the objects in this image are commonplace, paintings including tomatoes are rare, possibly because many people neither liked nor trusted this fruit. In 1852, for example, a Harvard-educated doctor claimed that tomatoes caused teeth to become so loose they could be easily removed with the fingers.

    This text was adapted from Gerald W. R. Ward, et al, "American Folk" (Boston, MFA Publications, 2001).

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.8 x 80.01 cm (20 x 31 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1265

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    Americas

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  • Pears

    about 1862–66

    Jean-François Millet (French, 1814–1875 French)

    Description

    The fruit and flowers included in still life paintings are often rare and expensive varieties. But Millet believed in the beauty of common things, even simple pears from a rural garden. "Who would dare to claim," he asked, "that a potato is inferior to a pomegranate?"

    Details

    Dimensions

    18.4 x 25.4 cm (7 1/4 x 10 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    17.1519

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    Europe

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  • Small panel: Spray of pears for applique work

    late 16th or early 17th century

    Description

    Small square piece; natural-colored linen canvas with design of spray of pears worked with polychrome silks in tent stitch; much of black rotted away.

    Details

    Dimensions

    17.2 x 17.5 cm (6 3/4 x 6 7/8 in.); Legacy dimension: 0.172 x 0.75 m

    Medium

    Linen; Silk; Wool, silk tent stitched embroidered on linen

    Classification

    Textiles

    Accession Number

    49.1899

    Collections

    Europe, Textiles and Fashion Arts

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  • Pears and Apple, France

    1919

    Edward Steichen (American (born in Luxembourg), 1879–1973)

    Description

    In his early career, Edward Steichen was a major figure in Pictorialism, an international movement that conceived of photography as a fine art and emphasized broad tonal effects that minimized detail. But by 1920 he fell under the spell of European modernism and moved toward straight photography, which was characterized by strong design and simple compositions. In Pears and Apple, France, Steichen concentrates on the physical reality of the fruit, reflecting his new belief that photography's real strength lay in its ability to reveal essential truths through an analysis of external form. He approached this still life as an abstract problem of how to represent volume, scale, and weight. With no manipulation of the negative or print, the fruit, photographed close-up and cropped tightly in the frame, seems voluptuous, heavy, and monumental.

    Details

    Dimensions

    Image/Sheet: 24.3 x 19.2 cm (9 9/16 x 7 9/16 in.) Mount: 25.5 x 20.3 cm (10 1/16 x 8 in.)

    Medium

    Photograph, gelatin silver print

    Classification

    Photographs

    Accession Number

    1984.584

    Collections

    Americas, Photography

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  • Still Life with Goblet and Fruit

    1656

    Jan Jansz. van de Velde (Dutch, 1619 or 1620–1662 Dutch)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    37.5 x 34.9 cm (14 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    27.465

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    Europe

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  • Fruit and Vase of Flowers on a Ledge

    Pietro Paolini (Italian (Lucchese), 1603–1681 Italian (Lucchese))

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    53.6 x 78.1 cm (21 1/8 x 30 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.42

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    Europe

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  • Still Life with Roses in a Glass Vase

    Samuel John Peploe (Scottish, 1871–1935 Scottish)

    Description

    The Scottish painter Peploe spent a number of years in Paris, where he responded to a range of influences from contemporary avant-garde art. Although he painted figure subjects and landscapes, Peploe preferred still life to both. “There is so much,” he explained, “in mere objects, flowers, leaves, jugs, what not—colors, forms, relations—I can never see that mystery coming to an end.”

    Details

    Dimensions

    61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    48.586

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    Europe

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  • Still Life in an Architectural Setting

    about 1645

    Jan Fyt (Flemish, 1611–1661)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    112.4 x 82.9 cm (44 1/4 x 32 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    50.2728

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Fruit and Vegetable Vendors

    1577

    Scipio Goltzius (Flemish, active in late 16th century Flemish)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    138.1 x 203.2 cm (54 3/8 x 80 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    67.752

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    Europe

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  • Still Life with Fruit, Wan-Li Porcelain, and Squirrel

    1616

    Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579–1657)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    56 x 84 cm (22 1/16 x 33 1/16 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on copper

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1993.566

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    Europe

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  • Still Life

    about 1910–13

    Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American (born in Canada),...

    Description

    One of America's early modernists, Prendergast painted some fifteen innovative fruit still lifes, probably between 1910 and 1913. Prendergast rarely exhibited or sold his still lifes, and they are difficult to date. The only one of his fruit pieces which can be securely dated is "Apples and a Pear on the Grass" (1912, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art), which Prendergast painted on a visit with the American artist William Glackens [59.658] and his wife. He also completed about fifteen flower pieces during this period [see "Flowers in a Blue Vase," 48.589].

    Prendergast seems to have painted these still lifes as a way to come to terms with the work of Paul Cézanne, whose pictures he had studied on a trip to Paris in 1907. At the time, Paris was full of avant-garde artists, but Prendergast wrote, "I think Cézanne will influence me more than the others... He left everything to the imagination. [His paintings] are great for their symplicity [sic] and suggestive qualities," (quoted in Nancy Mowll Mathews, "Maurice Prendergast," Williamstown, Mass. and Munich: Williams College and Prestel-Verlag, 1990, p. 25). All of Prendergast's fruit pieces include apples, which were also prominently featured by Cézanne. Like the French artist, Prendergast modeled these round forms by using patches of color rather than shaded tones, and he outlined the objects in dark pigment to differentiate them from the background. The slight tilt of the tabletop and the white napkin under the fruit in "Still Life" also recall Cézanne's work. Yet Prendergast did not slavishly copy the older artist. He incorporated Cézanne's ideas into his own mature style, which because of its decorative qualities, has variously been described as comparable to mosaics, tapestries, or brocades. Prendergast's brush strokes, evenly distributed and each equally vigorous, create an overall pattern in his paintings.

    The MFA's canvas differs from Prendergast's other still lifes; here he included more high-style objects, like the silver urn, the porcelain tea pot, cup, and saucer. While Prendergast dispensed with traditional illusionistic devices such as shadows and shading, he did include reflections on the silver urn, simplifying them into patches of color that correspond to nearby objects. Another unusual feature is the compote, which is repeated in the background as if it stood before a mirror, but the reflection does not replicate exactly what appears on the table. Such a ghost image also appears in Prendergast's "Cinerarias and Fruit" (about 1910-1913, Whitney Museum of American Art). Prendergast's "Still Life," with its rich surface texture, dynamic composition, and dazzling colors, communicates a vital energy rare in this genre of painting.

    When Prendergast died in 1924, he left "Still Life" (along with the rest of his estate) to his brother Charles, also an artist [see "Flowers," 48.840]. Charles's widow, Eugénie Prendergast, gave "Still Life," as well as "Portrait of Maurice Prendergast's Father" [69.1262], and "Woman in Brown Coat" [68.585] to the MFA, thereby ensuring that the Museum's collection would include the full range of the painter's work.

    Janet Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    48.89 x 53.66 cm (19 1/4 x 21 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    1970.1

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    Americas

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  • Still Life with Plums

    about 1919

    Joseph Stella (American, 1877–1946 American)

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 27.9 x 35.6cm (11 x 14 in.) Framed: 41.3 x 48.6 cm (16 1/4 x 19 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Color pencil over metalpoint on prepared paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    1983.150

    Collections

    Americas, Prints and Drawings

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