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Fruit Piece

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Hannah Brown Skeele
American, 1829–1901

About this artwork

This pristinely arranged still life by Hannah Brown Skeele features native-grown produce as well as imported specialties such as bananas, oranges, pineapple, and sugar cubes. Skeele skillfully rendered the various surfaces and textures of the food and tableware, and her composition was likely to appeal to middle- and upper-class consumers at midcentury. Born in Maine and active in Missouri, the artist exhibited Fruit Piece the year it was painted, then already in the collection of a Saint Louis businessman.

The tropical fruits and sweetener were products of empire. Enslaved and indentured laborers of color cultivated such crops in the West Indies and Central and South America. The goods were transported from those regions to New Orleans and then northward along the Mississippi River.


On View, Gallery 173


Arts of the Americas


Hannah Brown Skeele


Fruit Piece


Saint Louis (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


50.8 × 60.6 cm (20 × 23 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Charles C. Haffner, III, Mrs. Harold T. Martin, Mrs. Herbert A Vance, and Jill Burnside Zeno; through prior acquisition of the George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number


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