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MFA Images: Feasts

  • MFA Images: Feasts - Slide

  • Luncheon Party in a Park

    about 1735

    Nicolas Lancret, French, 1690–1743

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    54.1 x 46 cm (21 5/16 x 18 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    65.2649

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Stoneware Jug, Wine Glass, Herring, and Bread

    1642

    Pieter Claesz., Dutch, about 1597–1660 Dutch

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    29.8 x 35.8 cm (11 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.458

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Silver Brandy Bowl, Wine Glass, Herring, and Bread

    1642

    Pieter Claesz., Dutch, about 1597–1660 Dutch

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    29.9 x 35.9 cm (11 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    13.459

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Bread, Ham, Cheese, and Vegetables

    about 1772

    Luis Meléndez, Spanish, 1716–1780 Spanish

    Description

    The leading still-life painter of Spain during the eighteenth century, Meléndez was born in Naples and spent most of his student years in Rome. However, his still lifes have a sober yet sensuous realism characteristic of Spanish painting of the previous century. On a kitchen table are piled simple foodstuffs; every color and texture is precisely rendered, and the composition is woven together by curving lines and shapes. This painting and its companion, Still Life with Melon and Pears (MFA object no. 39.40), may be from a series of forty-five still lifes Meléndez painted for one of the royal palaces, intended to represent "every species of food produced in Spain."

    Details

    Dimensions

    61.9 x 85.1 cm (24 3/8 x 33 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    39.40

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Egg Salad

    about 1850

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

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    21.59 x 28.57 cm (8 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1220

    Collections

    Americas

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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.

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    62.172

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit

    1857

    John F. Francis, American, 1808–1886 American

    Description

    John F. Francis was one of the leading still-life painters in mid-nineteenth century America. He had been an itinerant portraitist [47.1142] during the 1830s and 1840s, but he turned to still-life painting in the 1850s when there was a growing demand for such images. By that time, general prosperity and a better-educated populace prompted more Americans to decorate their homes with paintings. From 1838 to 1852, the exhibitions and lotteries of art unions had increased art ownership throughout the nation and expanded the general public’s appreciation of genres other than portraiture. The sale of still lifes was further stimulated by the arrival of such European émigrés as SeverinRoesen [69.1228], who brought Old World still-life styles with them. In addition, Francis was from the Philadelphia area, and was likely aware of the local tradition of still-life painting by members of the Peale family [1979.520].
    Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit is one of Francis’s finest still lifes. He chose dessert food and beverages as the subjects for most of his canvases, generally placing the objects on a table before a neutral background, although in his later work he sometimes inserted a window with a landscape. Fruit and nuts ended many a celebratory meal in style; cheese had begun to be a part of dessert in the early nineteenth century, and champagne was often served between dinner and dessert. [1]In a show of unrestrained abundance, Francis included a bottle of sparkling wine with appropriate tall, slender glasses; another bottle that perhaps contains a fortified wine, such as port or sherry, with short, flared glasses; a blue and white pitcher trimmed with gold; a glass of water (commonly served in the best houses by the early nineteenth century, but possibly also a reference to the temperance movement that had been growing in strength during the 1840s); a plate of cheese; a basket of fruit partially covered with a fringed cloth; an elegant knife; and oyster crackers and nuts strewn over the cloth-covered table. The objects are rhythmically arranged, especially the glasses, which seem like musical notes on a staff. A pleasing array of rounded shapes is offset by the graceful silhouettes of the wine glasses. A variety of textures evoke the sense of touch—cool, brittle glass; moist cheese; crumbly crackers; hard nuts; soft fabric—and the cheese and opened oranges appeal to the sense of smell. Francis chose a warm palette of tawny yellows and tans, darker browns and oranges, offset by the light blue of the pitcher and trim of the fringed cloth. This sumptuous array of food, liquor, and fine tableware suggests a special occasion or a lavish dessert.

    Paintings like Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit must have been popular with art patrons, since Francis used the same objects in other still lifes. Still Life—Grapes in Dish (1850s, Newark Museum, New Jersey) is very similar to the MFA’s painting, although the fruit is in a compote rather than a basket and the objects are arrayed in a different pattern. Francis’s penchant for reusing a small number of objects for his paintings prompted the observation that he “exploits the smallest repertoire of any important American still life painter.”[2]

    Francis may have exhibited Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1858 under the title Champagne Lunch and Tropical Fruit (oranges were considered tropical at the time, though they are now categorized as subtropical). Sometime thereafter it was purchased by Reuben R. Springer (1800–1884), a Cincinnati businessman and philanthropist best known as the founder of the Music Hall in that city. It is not surprising that Francis’s vision of abundance and celebration might have appealed to this public-spirited citizen who acquired his wealth through the grocery trade and wise investments. Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit joined a collection that included both European and American paintings, which Springer bequeathed to the Cincinnati Art Museum in 1884. The Cincinnati Art Museum later deaccessioned Still Life with Wine Bottles and Basket of Fruit; when it appeared on the New York art market in the 1940s, Maxim Karolik bought it, along with Francis’s Three Children [47.1142] and Still Life with Chestnuts and Apples [47.1145], for the MFA.

    Notes
    1. Louise Conway Belden, The Festive Tradition: Table Decoration and Desserts in America, 1650–1900 (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1983), 228–35.
    2.Alfred Frankenstein, After the Hunt: William Harnett and Other American Still Life Painters 1870–1900, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1953), 137.

    Janet L. Comey

    Details

    Dimensions

    63.82 x 76.2 cm (25 1/8 x 30 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    47.1170

    Collections

    Americas

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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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  • Twelfth-Night Feast

    1662

    Jan Havicksz. Steen, Dutch, 1626–1679 Dutch

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall: 131.1 x 164.5cm (51 5/8 x 64 3/4in.) Framed: 155.6 x 188.6 cm (61 1/4 x 74 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    54.102

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Kitchen Table

    17[55?]

    Jean Siméon Chardin, French, 1699–1779 French

    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.

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    80.512

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork

    about 1637–39

    Jan Jansz. den Uyl, Dutch, 1595 or 1596–1639 or 1640 Dutch

    Description

    What appears to be a haphazard arrangement of precariously balanced objects on rumpled white linen is in fact a carefully structured composition, culminating in the Venetian goblet framed by the niche. Placed among splendid objects of pewter, glass, porcelain, and gold-plate, the extinguished candle and the pocket watch on a silk ribbon may be symbols of death and passing time. Den Uyl's name in Dutch means owl. He often "signed" his paintings with hidden images of owls, and one can be discovered here on top of the handle of the large pewter flagon at left.

    Details

    Dimensions

    130.5 x 115.5 cm (51 3/8 x 45 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    54.1606

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Wine Goblet and Oysters

    1630s

    Pieter Claesz., Dutch, about 1597–1660 Dutch

    Description

    Like many still-life painters, Claesz. favored particular kinds of objects. The plain foods that he painted—bread, fruit, and herring— were those found on the tables of all but the poorest families in the Dutch Republic. This composition also includes tobacco spilling from a cone of paper. The capacious wine-glass found in many of Claesz.'s paintings provides a strong vertical element that balances the basic horizontals of the composition; it also gives the artist the opportunity to explore the related effects of transparency, translucency, and reflection.

    Details

    Dimensions

    50.2 x 70.1 cm (19 3/4 x 27 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    56.883

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Still Life with Carp

    Pierre Nichon, French (Dijonnais), active in 1645–1655

    Description

    After a painting in the Musée de Clamecy at Nevers

    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    63.1628

    Collections

    Europe

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  • The Tea Party

    about 1824

    Henry Sargent, American, 1770–1845 American

    Description

    Entrepreneur and artist David Brown commissioned Henry Sargent to paint The Tea Party following his successful public display of Sargent’s The Dinner Party [19.13], hoping this second interior would prove equally popular. The Tea Party was first shown (together with the earlier dinner scene) in Boston around May 1824 and over the next decade Brown toured the pair of canvases repeatedly, bringing them to New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal.

    The casual deportment of mixed company in The Tea Party makes this composition an appropriate pendant to the more formal arrangement of The Dinner Party. Like The Dinner Party, The Tea Party may represent Sargent’s own home in the Tontine Crescent, a row of handsome Boston townhouses (no longer extant) designed and built by Charles Bulfinch in 1793–94. One contemporary critic noted: “The rooms and furniture [are] delightfully painted, and with the most minute fidelity.” [1] This is an upper-class interior, with two richly appointed parlors filled with fashionably attired figures. The women wear stylish Empire gowns in colors suitable for daytime; white garments were reserved for evening, as they were difficult to keep pristine. The furnishings reflect the latest styles recommended by such tastemakers as English designer Thomas Sheraton, who advised that the drawing room was to include the finest furniture and decorations in the house. [2] Sargent carefully delineated the French-styled Empire armchairs and a marble-topped center table toward the middle of the first parlor; the table may be one that descended in the Sargent family and is now in the collection of the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. Other imported and domestic goods are displayed around the two rooms, including an alabaster vase on a stand in the corner at the left, mirrors that help to reflect the warm artificial light in both spaces, and vases and urns on the mantelpiece. The walls of the room are lined with paintings—likely some landscapes, a subject that Americans were just beginning to collect.

    Both The Tea Party and The Dinner Party were reacquired by the artist from Brown before 1842, when Sargent displayed one of them in the first exhibition to be held at Chester Harding’s Boston gallery. The two paintings remained in the Sargent family after the artist’s death and were given to the MFA in 1919.

    Notes
    1. Editorial, Columbian Centinel, May 8, 1824, quoted in Jane C. Nylander, “Henry Sargent’s Dinner Party and Tea Party,” Magazine Antiques, May 1982, 1176.
    2. Nylander, “Henry Sargent’s Dinner Party and Tea Party,” 1180.

    Karen E. Quinn

    Details

    Dimensions

    163.51 x 133.03 cm (64 3/8 x 52 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.12

    Collections

    Americas

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  • The Dinner Party

    about 1821

    Henry Sargent, American, 1770–1845 American

    Description

    Henry Sargent’s painting gives us a glimpse of a fashionable dinner party in 1820s Boston. The dishes for the main course have been cleared; the tablecloth has been removed; and nuts, fruit, and wine are being offered for dessert. The single candle on the table is provided to enable the diners to light their tobacco. The shutters are drawn to keep out the sun, for during this period dinner parties were held in the middle of the afternoon. This gathering may represent a meeting of a specific group: the Wednesday Evening Club, which met weekly for dinner and discussion at members’ houses. The club, which survives today, consisted in Sargent’s time of four clergymen, four doctors, four lawyers, and four “merchants, manufacturers or gentlemen of literature and leisure.”[1]Guests were sometimes included at the dinners, which would explain why there are more than sixteen in attendance here. Sargent, possibly the third figure on the right side of the table, was a successful politician and inventor as well as a talented painter, and he may well have belonged to the club; however, no membership records were kept at this time, so it is not certain what convivial gathering is represented here.
    In addition to being an invaluable document of social customs among Federal Boston’s elite, the painting preserves the appearance of an upper-class interior. This elegant room was probably Sargent’s own dining room at 10 Franklin Place on Tontine Crescent, a handsome row of townhouses built by celebrated architect Charles Bulfinch in 1793–94. The contents of the room—the sideboard (a new form whose serpentine front allowed diners to reach across it with ease), the expensive Wilton carpet (here protected by a green baize “crumb cloth”), paintings, a large looking glass, and a dining table big enough to accommodate many guests comfortably—conform to those recommended by Thomas Sheraton, an English designer and champion of good taste. The cellaret [1975.755] in the foreground, used to cool bottles of wine, was also a new form; it remained in Sargent’s family and was given to the Museum by one of the artist’s descendants.

    Although the painting records a private event, it was created for exhibition. In the 1820s, visitors willing to pay 25¢ could see it in a gallery operated by the drawing master David Brown at 2 Cornhill Square, Boston. Business was brisk; presumably the picture was enjoyed not only by Sargent’s social circle but also by those who could not afford such luxurious surroundings yet enjoyed a peek into such an elite and opulent world. Because this was a commercial success, Brown commissioned Sargent to paint The Tea Party[19.12]. Beginning in 1824, Brown toured the paintings together.

    Notes
    1. Sketch of the Wednesday Evening Club by Samuel Kirkland Lothrop (Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1873), n.p., quoted in Jane C. Nylander, “Henry Sargent’s Dinner Party and Tea Party,” Magazine Antiques, May 1982, 1172.

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

    Details

    Dimensions

    156.53 x 126.36 cm (61 5/8 x 49 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    19.13

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    Americas

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  • A Foreigner's Wine Party (Gaikokujin shuen no zu), from an...

    1860 (Ansei 7/Man'en 1), 10th month

    Artist Utagawa Yoshikazu, Japanese, active 1848–1870

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Vertical ôban; 15 x 10 in. (38.1 x 25.4 cm)

    Medium

    Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2005.538

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • Family Eating Soba Noodles

    cancelled 1904

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Photographic reproduction with handcoloring on card

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.6944

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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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

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Peasants Carousing

    1662

    Jan Miense Molenaer, Dutch, 1609 or 1610–1668 Dutch

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    112.7 x 130.2 cm (44 3/8 x 51 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on canvas

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    07.500

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    Europe

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  • The Drinking Party of the Shutendôji at Mount Ôe (Ôeyama...

    about 1831 (Tenpô 2)

    Artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Japanese, 1797–1861

    Description

    Triptych: 17.3209.54 (left), 17.3209.55 (center), 17.3209.56 (right)

    MFA impressions: 11.39563a-c, 17.3209.54-6

    Details

    Dimensions

    Vertical ôban triptych; 36.7 x 77 cm (14 7/16 x 30 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    17.3209.54-6

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • A Venetian Banquet

    about 1775-85

    Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Italian, 1727–1804

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 29.2 x 42.1 cm (11 1/2 x 16 9/16 in.)

    Medium

    Pen and brown ink with brush and gray-brown wash over black chalk on off-white laid paper

    Classification

    Drawings

    Accession Number

    66.834

    Collections

    Europe , Prints and Drawings

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  • Congratulatory Banquet at the New Imperial Palace (Shin kôkyo...

    1887 (Meiji 20)

    Artist Hashimoto Chikanobu, Japanese, 1838–1912

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Vertical ôban triptych; 37.1 x 74.3 cm (14 5/8 x 29 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

    Classification

    Prints

    Accession Number

    2000.143a-c

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • Banquet Room, the Grand Hotel, Yokohama (from an unidentified series)

    inscribed 1919

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.6721

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • People Gathered, Expecting Food (Tanin no kuiyori) from Ehagaki...

    1909

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Overall (trimmed): 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

    2002.2228

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • A Peasant Meal

    Bernardus Johannes Blommers, Dutch, 1845–1914 Dutch

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Sheet: 48.3 x 64.2 cm (19 x 25 1/4 in. )

    Medium

    Watercolor on paper

    Classification

    Watercolors

    Accession Number

    33.319

    Collections

    Europe , Prints and Drawings

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  • Women at Meal

    Artist Unknown, Japanese

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

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

    Medium

    Collotype with hand coloring; ink on card stock

    Classification

    Postcards

    Accession Number

    2002.17704

    Collections

    Asia , Prints and Drawings

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  • Peasants Carousing in a Tavern

    Adriaen Brouwer, Dutch, about 1606–1638

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    33.3 x 49.2 cm (13 1/8 x 19 3/8 in.)

    Medium

    Oil on panel

    Classification

    Paintings

    Accession Number

    56.1185

    Collections

    Europe

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  • Basket with nuts

    second half of the 17th century

    Description
    Details

    Dimensions

    Basket: Height: 2.2 cm; width: 8.3 cm & 7.3 cm

    Medium

    Glazed earthenware: Yixing ware

    Classification

    Ceramics , Pottery , Earthenware

    Accession Number

    59.230.1

    Collections

    Asia

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