Still Life—Pears, Peaches and Grapes, &c.

James Peale, American, 1749 - 1831

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

19 x 27 inches (48.3 x 68.6 cm) Framed: 27 × 35 × 4 1/2 inches (68.6 × 88.9 × 11.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 107, American Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2007

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When James Peale's eyesight declined around 1810, he abandoned miniature painting for larger oil compositions such as this still life. In this work, a lavish display of peaches, pears, and grapes spill out of a Chinese export porcelain basket and a bowl. The attention to detail and dramatic use of shadows are reminiscent of seventeenth-century Dutch still life painting. The fruit is portrayed at the height of its ripeness, though the pears are beginning to show spots of age. Completed when Peale was seventy-four, this image may represent the artist's heightened awareness of the transience of time near the end of his life.

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