Published: March 18, 2003
‘Observation & Creation:
NEW YORK CITY – Hirschl & Adler Galleries will exhibit “Observation & Creation: 200 Years of the Still Life,” an exhibition of approximately 65 paintings, drawings, prints and decorative arts objects illustrating still life subjects from 1810 to the present. Depictions of fruits, flowers and trompe l’oeil subjects by both European and American fine and decorative artists will comprise this exhibition. The exhibition continues through April 26.
Still life painting in America had its earliest flowering during the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century. The show includes “Still Life of Fruit, Pitcher and Pretzel” and “Table Top Still Life with Jug and Fish,” a pair of paintings by Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825). By the mid-Nineteenth Century, such German-born artists as Adelheid Dietrich (1827-?) and Severin Roesen (circa 1815-1872) took cues from their home country’s long still life tradition to create elaborate, meticulously rendered fruit and flower pieces. Dietrich’s “Autumnal Still Life with Fruit and Flowers,” 1866, and Roesen’s monumental “Still Life of Flowers and Fruit,” circa 1870-72, brim with the harvests of field and garden.
Johan Laurentz Jensen (1800-1856), known as the father of Danish still life painting, brought consummate skill to complex floral arrangements like “Still Life with Rhododendrons, a Poppy, Peony and an Iris in a Greek Red-Figure Vase,” 1841, while the Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840) infuses his flower portraits with a scientific accuracy.
“Observation & Creation” also includes porcelain painting, which sowed the seeds of many a still life artist’s career. (Jensen, in fact, began his career as a porcelain painter for the Royal Copenhagen Manufactory). A monumental pair of “Old Paris” crater form vases with garlands of flowers by the Parisian firm Darte Freres, produced about 1820 demonstrate the peak of decorative painting and gilding on porcelain in France during the Neo-classical period.
The art of porcelain painting in America is also represented by a pair of pitchers by the Tucker Factories of Philadelphia, the first successful manufacturer of porcelain in the United States.
Included in the exhibition is John Frederick Peto’s (1854-1907) “Letter Rack on Black Door,” an example of trompe l’oeil. American artists such as Peto, William Michael Harnett (1848-1892) and De Scott Evans (1847-1898) also produced intriguing and often playful compositions.
Into the Twentieth Century, artists continued to explore the still life genre. Preston Dickinson (1889-1930), for example, in his pastel, “Still Life with Candle,” demonstrates the influence of Cubism on American modernism, while Charles Sheeler’s (1883-1965) lithograph “Roses,” displays a precisionist restraint and elegance characteristic of his work of the 1920s.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm and Saturdays, from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm, or by appointment. For information, 212-535-8810 or www.hirschlandadler.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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