De Scott Evans (1847-1898)
Property from the Collection of Frederick and Dorothy Rudolph
De Scott Evans (1847-1898)

Cat in a Crate

De Scott Evans (1847-1898)
Cat in a Crate
signed 'S.S David' (lower right on front)
oil on canvas; stretched canvas on top, front and two sides, back and bottom open
10 1/8 x 12 1/8 x 8 3/8 in. (25.7 x 30.8 x 21.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1887.
(Possibly) Samuel N. Thompson, New York.
(Possibly) James Abbe, Long Island, New York.
Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Acquired by the late owners from the above, 1998.
W.H. Gerdts, Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life 1801-1939, Columbia, Missouri, 1981, p. 203.
M.D. Mitchell, The Art of American Still Life: Audubon to Warhol, New Haven, Connecticut, 2016, p. 210, pl. 85, another example illustrated.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting, October 13, 2002-March 2, 2003.

Lot Essay

Signed 'S.S. David,' Cat in a Crate is actually the work of still life artist De Scott Evans, who created two versions of the present work--the other is in a private collection. Evans went under several pseudonyms in the course of his career, and the iteration of S.S. David is thought to be the artist’s way of exploring and carrying out his personal artistic interests. In a period of the late nineteenth century when much still life was considered inconsequential, Evans' nom de plume allowed him to create playful and humorous trompe l’oeil imagery which he could keep separate from his more serious artistic endeavors. Despite the distinction made between Evans’ primary output and the present work, Cat in a Crate is a tremendous example of the artist’s meticulous eye and his evocation of familiar and lighthearted imagery that reflects a contemporary engagement with popular culture and the everyday vernacular of nineteenth century life.

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