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Still Life

Opulent still lifes were a sign of wealth and prosperity in antebellum America, and bowls of fruit, so-called “dining room” pieces, were popular subjects. The compote dish in this image, with its basket-weave design, Rococo scrollwork, and Neoclassical facial medallion, was typical of early Victorian-era decorative arts. The gold details further enhance its richness. The blemishes on the fruit may, however, indicate a vanitas theme. A pendant exists to this drawing, suggesting that the two works were part of a series illustrating the four seasons. The fruits, nuts, and flowers shown here are indicative of fall.

Edwin Whitefield
American, 1816–1892
Still Life
1845
Watercolor and gold paint on paper
Image: 5 11/16 x. 7 5/8 in. (14.4 x 19.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, 91.307