In November 1925, Pierre Roy exhibited at the Galerie André-Françoise Pierre in Paris along with Jean Arp, Giorgio di Chirico, Max Ernst, André Masson, Man Ray and Joan Miro. The exhibition marked the beginning of the artist's friendship with the Surrealists, however, Roy remained largely independent of the theories and political discourse of the group throughout his career.
The present work is a fine example of Roy's 'magic realiste' style and Vermeer-like treatment of light with the boller hats on the ledge and side table as a homage to the Dadaists of the day. Between 1925 and 1928 Roy painted several interiors with meticulous detail and incongruous objects. One well-known interior scene, Danger dans l'escalier (1927), presents a small staircase of similar architectural style and a large snake descending (Collection of Museum of Modern Art: A. Biro and R. Passerson, Dictionnaire Général du Surréalisme et Ses Environs, Paris, 1982, p. 371 illustrated). In these interiors as well as those done around 1936-37 the most striking aspect is the absence of any human presence.
Originally, five paintings by the artist were in the Wilder collection: along with the present work and four other still-lifes of exquisite tromp l'oeil style (see Billy Wilder Collection, Christie's, New York, 13 November 1989, lots 41-42, 48-49.)