Johann Preyer was one of the few exponents of the Dusseldorf School of artists who specialized in still lifes. From 1822, Preyer studied at the renowned academy, first under Peter von Cornelius and later under Wilhelm von Schadow. The artist exhibited at the Berlin Akademie beginning in 1830 and traveled to the Netherlands in 1835. The young artist finally settled in Munich, accompanied by his brother Gustave. It was in Munich that Preyer executed his best still lifes, and became so well-known in that artistic community that he attracted the attention of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who was so impressed that he purchased one of his works.
In 1848, Preyer founded the Malkasten Artist's Association in Dusseldorf, and he remained in that city for the remainder of his life. His still lifes were much sought-after and appreciated during his lifetime for their precision of execution and the artist was frequently compared to the great Old Master painters of the genre.