JAMES PEALE (1749-1831)
Fruits of Autumn
oil on panel
15 1/2 x 22 in. (39.4 x 55.9 cm.)
Painted circa 1825-27.
Juliana Force, New York, circa 1920s.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1932.
Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, New York, circa 1940s.
Eleanor Searle Whitney McCollum, by descent.
Estate of the above.
Christie's, New York, 5 December 2002, lot 9, sold by the above.
Acquired by the late owner from the above.
Arts Weekly: The News Magazine of the Arts, vol. 1, 1932, p. 10.
The Art Quarterly, vol. 3, 1940, p. 85, fig. 4, illustrated.
Arts Magazine, vol. 16, 1941, p. 10.
V. Barker, American Painting, History, and Interpretation, New York, 1960, p. 308.
W.H. Gerdts, American Still-life Painting, New York, 1971, p. 36.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; East Hampton, New York, Guild Hall Museum, Exhibition of Provincial Painting of the 19th Century, Audubon Prints, Colored Lithographs, Thomas Nast Cartoons Selected from the Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum, March 3-30, 1932.
Buffalo, New York, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Centennial Exhibition of American Folk Art, July 1-August 1, 1932.
San Francisco, California, M.H. de Young Museum, American Painting, 1935.
Hagerstown, Maryland, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, American Painting Before 1865, September 4-26, 1937, p. 16.
New York, Flushing Meadows, New York World's Fair, April 30, 1939-October 27, 1940, no. 182.
Houston, Texas, Museum of Fine Arts, The Private Eye: Selected Works from the Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 9-August 13, 1989.

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Lot Essay

As a member of the renowned Peale family of artists and regarded as a pioneer of the American still-life tradition, James Peale holds an important place in history for his realistic trompe l'oeil paintings, portraits and miniatures. Trained by his highly regarded older brother, Charles Willson Peale, James Peale began his painting career after serving in the Revolutionary War and settling in Philadelphia in 1782. Peale first exhibited still-life subjects at the Columbianum in 1795. According to Linda Crocker Simmons, "The works exhibited document the birth of the still-life tradition in America; [James and his nephew Raphaelle] were to be the principal practitioners of this art form for many decades to come." (L.B. Miller, ed., The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy 1770-1870, Washington, D.C., 1996, p. 217)

Indeed, as demonstrated in Fruits of Autumn—painted circa 1825-27—James Peale's "lush evocations of the earth's abundance won a popularity denied to Raphaelle Peale's stark, intense compositions." (E.G. Holland, S.T. Colwill, K.B. Whiting-Young, Four Generations of Commissions: The Peale Collection of the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, 1975, p. 33). Simmons notes, “His depictions of natural objects seem to be based on direct observation and a perception of their interrelationships over time, not the geometry of their forms. Visual examination informs his hand in the depiction of the items before him, and his awareness of the passage of time is evident." (The Peale Family: Creation of a Legacy 1770-1870, p. 218). Peale explored this theme in other important works such as Apples & Grapes in a Pierced Bowl (1823-25, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

The first known owner of the present work, Juliana Force, was a museum administrator and the first director of what would eventually become the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

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