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Still Life with Fruit

Not on view

Still Life with Fruit

Artist: John William Hill (English, 1812-1879; active United States, after 1819)

Date: 1866
Medium: Watercolor on thin white, wove paper
Overall: 11 3/16 x 17 1/4in. (28.4 x 43.8cm)
Signed: On recto (lower left) in pigment: "J.W. Hill/1866"
Markings: Watermarks (Recto, l.r.)" ? WHATMAN"
Inscribed: None on verso
Credit Line: 75th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchase, and gifts, by exchange, from Joseph and Neilson Rudd in memory of Thomas Brown Rudd and Helen Neilson Rudd, Mrs. Hope F.T. Zarensky, Thomas Brook, and Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Owens
Object number: 2011.11
Label Text
Still Life or Landscape?

For a brief period in the middle decades of the nineteenth century a number of American artists painted under the influence of the writings of the English art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900), who linked naturalistic imagery with truth, beauty, morality and religion. Hill followed Ruskin's aesthetic dictates more conscientiously than any other artist in this group.

This intimate, carefully-observed depiction of several different kinds of fruit, randomly arranged on the ground in a natural setting, is a distinctly different kind of still life presentation than the austere, studio-made still lifes that James (1749-1831) and Raphael Peale (1774-1825) painted earlier in the century (displayed in the adjacent red gallery), or the theatrical, illusionistic "bric-a-brac" still life painted two decades later (in the adjacent blue gallery) by William M. Harnett (1848-92).


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