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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup


Raphaelle Peale

Born Annapolis, Maryland, 1774; died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1825

Raphaelle—his given name reveals the high artistic aspirations that his painter father had for him. Charles Willson Peale had expected his gifted son to follow his own successful career as a portraitist in Philadelphia, but Raphaelle excelled at still lifes, a genre for which there was little market or critical respect at the time. Raphaelle created in his own humble art form—what are in fact poetic portrayals of humanity—humanity as seen through the objects of one’s life. Here the exotic objects are those collected by the artist’s father, a naturalist as well as a painter: there is a silver mounted ostrich egg cup from Africa, like the one on display in the silver case nearby; a Chinese export porcelain pitcher and a celadon bowl from Asia; and a gathering of strawberries cultivated on the Peale family’s experimental farm.

Oil on wood panel, with additions
with additions: 12 5/8 x 19 3/16 in. (32.1 x 48.7cm)
without additions top and bottom: 12 1/8 x 19 3/l6 in. (30.8 x 48.7 cm)
panel width: 7/16 in. (1 cm)
FRAMED: 17 3/4 x 24 3/4 in. (45.1 x 62.9 cm)
Acquired in memory of Ruth J. Nutt with funds from the General Acquisition Fund; Bill and Melinda Gates Art Acquisition Fund; the Kendrick A. Schlatter Estate; an anonymous donor; Thomas W. Barwick; Susan Winokur and Paul Leach; American Art Acquisition Fund; Patricia Denny Art Acquisition Endowment; 19th and 20th Century Purchase Fund; the Council of American Art; Geraldine Murphy; and from the following donors to the collection, by exchange: Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection; Estate of Mark Tobey; Estate of Earl Henry Gibson; Paul Denby Mackie in memory of Kathleen Lawler and Nona Lawler Mackie; Estate of Mrs. Reginald Marsh; Estate of Hollister T. Sprague; Mrs. John C. Atwood, Jr.; Norman and Amelia Davis Collection; Mrs. Brewer Boardman in memory of Mrs. Edward Lincoln Smith; Mr. and Mrs. Boyer Gonzales; Mrs. Frederick Hall White; Mr. and Mrs. George Lhamon; Ernest R. Norling; Mrs. Eugene Fuller; Milnor Roberts; Jane and David Soyer; Mrs. Reginald H. Parsons; Elizabeth Merriam Fitch and Lillian Fitch Rehbock; Mr. and Mrs. John H. Bolton; and Jacob Elshin
Provenance: {Phineas T. Barnum, Bridgeport, Connecticut}; The Misses Elizabeth (1903-1997) and Helen (1907-1982) Glanville, Bridgeport, Connecticut; consigned to [Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, sale number 2531, “American Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture,” lot no. 53 (Still Life)], hammered down but subsequently bought in; returned to the Misses Glanville; sold to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, November 30, 1968]; sold to John T. Dorrance, Jr. (1919-1989), Dolobran, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, May 20, 1969; sold to [James Maroney, New York, before 1989]; sold to Roy and Ruth Nutt, Darian, Connecticut, and Seattle, Washington
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition History{possibly Baltimore, Maryland, Peale’s Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts, Annual Exhibition, October, 1822.}

New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Retrospective of a Gallery: Twenty Years, Nov. 8-Dec. 1, 1973. Cat. no. 72, reproduced [collection of John T. Dorrance, Jr.].

Houston, Texas, Twenty-Seventh Annual Theta Charity Antiques Show, Sept. 26-30, 1979.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, Philbrook Art Center, Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life, 1801-1939, Sept. 27-Nov. 1, 1981 (Oakland, California, The Oakland Museum, Dec. 8, 1981-Jan. 24, 1982; Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, Mar. 2-Apr. 25, 1982; New York, National Academy of Design, May 1-July 4, 1982). Text by William H. Gerdts. No cat. no, pp. 58-59, reproduced pl.1, p. 1.

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Raphaelle Peale Still Lifes, Oct. 16, 1988-Jan. 29, 1989 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Feb. 16-Apr. 16, 1989). Text by Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Linda Bantel, and John Wilmerding. Cat. no. 39, p. 57, reproduced p. 51, and cover.

Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, extended loan, 1995-2014.

Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Creating Perfection: Shaker Objects and Their Affinities, Oct. 5, 2000-Apr. 29, 2001. No catalogue.

Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, An American Sampler, May 18, 2002-July 4, 2005. No catalogue.

Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Art of American Still Life: Audubon to Warhol, Oct. 27, 2015-Jan. 10, 2018. Text by Mark Mitchell. Cat no. 24, pp. 138-139, reprodued plate 24.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, American Art: The Stories We Carry, Oct. 20, 2022 - ongoing.
Published References“$18,500 Paid for Peale Work.” New York Times, March 17, 1967: p. 2.

Lloyd, Phoebe. “Philadelphia Story.” Art in America 76, no. 1 (November 1988): p. 159, n2.

Ward, David C. and Sidney Hart. “Subversion and Illusion in the Life and Art of Raphaelle Peale.” American Art 8, nos. 3-4 (Summer/Fall 1994): p. 109, reproduced fig. 6.

Storr, Annie V. F. “Raphaelle Peale’s Strawberries, Nuts, &c.: A Riddle of Enlightened Science.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 21, no. 1 (1995): p. 28, reproduced p. 30.

Nemerov, Alexander. The Body of Raphaelle Peale: Still Life and Selfhood, 1812-1824. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001; pp. 28, 61-62, 67, 69-70, 77-79, 146, 165, reproduced pl. 3.

Barter, Judith A. “True to the Senses and False in Its Essence: Still-Life and Trompe l’Oeil Painting in Victorian America.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 31, no. 1 (2005): p. 91 n3.

Hobler, Linnard R. "Pure , Bright, and Solid: Raising a New Standard for John McMullin and his Silver." Master's thesis, Corcoran College of Art, 2011. Reproduced p. 186, fig. 97.

Junker, Patricia. “Museum Accessions: Raphaelle Peale’s Still Life with Ostrich Egg Cup.” The Magazine Antiques (January/February 2015): p. 94, reproduced.

Grant, Daniel. “Museum Acquisitions: Top Picks of 2014.” Antiques and Fine Art (Winter/Spring 2015): p. 134, reproduced p. 135, fig. 14.

“Creating a Legacy: The Collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt.” In The Collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt: Important Americana and Decorative Arts, Sotheby's, New York, 23 January 2015, p. 10. Auction cat. New York: Sotheby’s, 2015.

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