About This Artwork

Raphaelle Peale
American, 1774–1825

Still Life - Strawberries, Nuts, &c., 1822

Oil on wood panel
41.1 x 57.8 cm (16 3/16 x 22 3/4 in.)
Signed, lower right: "Raphaelle Peale/1822"

Gift of Jamee J. and Marshall Field, 1991.100

Raphaelle Peale, the oldest son of the artist Charles Willson Peale, was trained in the lucrative arts of portraiture and miniature painting, yet he chose to pursue the less popular genre of still life. This precisely arranged composition includes strawberries soon to be eaten with sugar and cream, hazelnuts and almonds, late-season grapes, and an orange. Influenced by 17th-century Dutch still lifes, Peale featured imported material goods in his compositions; the Chinese porcelain seen here was made for the American market, luxury wares symbolizing the young republic’s increasing power and prosperity. The large glass urn holding strawberries possibly alludes to experiments at Belfield, the farm where Peale’s father “forced” fruit to grow out of season by using heated greenhouses called hothouses.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, Still Life-Strawberries, Nuts & c., cat. no. 154, lent by the artist.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, American Realists and Magic Realists, Feb. 10-Mar. 21, 1943, pp. 9, 63, cat. 13; traveled to Buffalo, Albright Gallery, Apr. 5-May 5; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, July 1-30; San Francisco Museum of Art, Aug. 23-Sept. 19; Art Gallery of Toronto, Nov. 12-Dec. 19; Cleveland Museum of Art, Jan. 1-29, 1944.

Milwaukee Art Center, Raphaelle Peale, Still Lifes and Portraits, January 15-February 15, 1959, cat. no. 4, as Still Life, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Graham, cat. by Charles Coleman Sellers; traveled to New York, M. Knoedler & Company, March 2- March 31, 1959.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Public Library, A Rationale for Modern Art, touring exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Graham, October 1-21, 1959; traveled to St. Louis, November 2-22, 1959; New York, Time Inc., December 7-18; Mansfield, Ohio, Kingwood Center, January 3-24, 1960; Michigan, Midland Art Association, February 5-25, 1960; Miami Beach Art Center, March 1-31, 1960; Dallas, Southern Methodist University, April 12-May 3; Seattle, Charles and Emma Frye Museum, May 15-June 6; San Francisco Museum of Art, Jun 16-July 17; Norwich, Conn., Slater Memorial Museum, October 10-30, 1960.

New Haven, Conn., Yale University Art Gallery, American Art from Alumni Collections, April 25-June 16, 1968, cat. 79, ill. as Still Life with Strawberries, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Graham.

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, 18th- and 19th- Century American Art from Private Collections, June 27-September 11, 1972, cat. no. 49, as Bowl of Strawberries, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Graham.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Three Centuries of American Art, April 11-October 10, 1976, cat. no. 213, p. 255, ill. as Still Life with Strawberries, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Graham.

Tulsa, Okla., Philbrook Art Center, Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life, 1801-1939, September 27-November 1, 1981, fig. 3.9, p. 59, ill. as Still Life with Wild Strawberries, lent by Edith and Robert Graham1; traveled to Oakland Museum, December 8, 1981-January 24, 1982; Baltimore Museum of Art, March 2-April 25, 1982; New York, National Academy of Design, May 18-July 4, 1982.

Art Institute of Chicago, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine, November 10, 2013-January 27, 2014; traveled to Fort Worth, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, February 22-May 18, 2014, cat. 54.

Publication History

Dorothy C. Miller and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., eds., American Realists and Magic Realists (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1943), p. 9 ill.

Wolfgang Born, Still-Life Painting in America, New York, 1947, p. 13, fig. 23, p. 14 ill.

Alfred Frankenstein, The Reality of Appearance, The Trompe L’Oeil Tradition in American Painting (New York, 1970) cat. no. 7, p. 36, p. 37 ill.

William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke, American Still-Life Painting (New York, Washington, London, 1971), p. 31.

William H. Gerdts, Painters of the Humble Truth (Columbia, Missouri and London, 1981), pp. 59-60, fig. 2.9, p. 59, ill.

Beatrice B. Garvan, Federal Philadelphia, 1785-1825, The Athens of the Western World, (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1987), cat. no. 230, fig. 50, p. 82, ill.

Tom Armstrong, “The New Field-McCormick Galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago,” Magazine Antiques, 134, 4 (October 1988), p. 822-834, pl. VII, p. 826, ill.

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. , Raphaelle Peale Still Life (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1988), fig. 41, p. 53, ill.

Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1990-91 (Chicago, 1991) Fig. 1, p. 1, ill.

“Principales Acquisitions des Musees en 1991,” Gazette des Beaux Arts (March 1992), fig. 243, p. 71, ill.

Lillian B. Miller, “Father and Son: The Relationship of Charles Willson Peale and Raphaelle Peale,” American Art Journal, 25, 1 and 2 (1993), pp. 4-61, ill. p. 52.

Annie V. F. Storr, “Raphaelle Peale’s Strawberries, Nuts & c: A Riddle of Enlightened Science,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 21, 1 (1995), pp. 24, 35, ill.

Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 137-8, ill.

Judith A. Barter, "True to the Senses and False in Its Essence: Still-Life and Trompe l'Oeil Painting in Victorian America," Museum Studies 31, 1 (Art Institute of Chicago, 2005) p. 34 (ill.).

"Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, Highlights of the Collection," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017) p. 44.

Ownership History

Mr. Feldman, Philadelphia by 1940. James Graham and Sons Gallery, New York, by 1941. Robert C. Graham, N.Y. by 1946. Jamee J. and Marshall Field III by 1991; given by them to the Art Institute, 1991.

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