The Vanity Of The Artist's Dream
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1942.193
People
Charles Bird King, American (Newport, RI 1785 - 1862 Washington, DC)
Title
The Vanity of the Artist's Dream
Other Titles
Former Title: The Anatomy of Art Appreciation
Former Title: Poor Artist's Study
Former Title: Still Life, The Vanity of An Artist's Dream
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1830
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States
Culture
American
Location
Level 2, Room 2200, European and American Art, 17th–19th century
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil and graphite on canvas
Dimensions
89.2 x 74.9 cm (35 1/8 x 29 1/2 in.)
frame: 109.2 x 94.6 x 5.1 cm (43 x 37 1/4 x 2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.c. on edge of book: C. B. King 1830 [For all the other inscriptions see Appendix A in American Paintings at Harvard, Volume I.]
Provenance
James Fullerton, Boston (by 1832); Thomas R. Walker, Utica, NY; by descent to Muriel Matthews; purchased by Grenville L. Winthrop; his gift to the Fogg Art Museum, 1942.

Aquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Grenville L. Winthrop, Class of 1886
Accession Year
1942
Object Number
1942.193
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
Publication History

Edgar P. Richardson, American Romantic Painting, ed. Robert Freund, E. Weyhe (New York, NY, 1944), p. 40, no. 44, ill.

Wolfgang Born, Still-Life Painting in America, Oxford University Press (NY) (New York, 1947), pp. 27-28, fig. 69

Virgil Barker, American Painting: History and Interpretation, The Macmillan Company (New York, 1950), pp. 305, 307, pl. 39

Edgar P. Richardson, Painting in America: The Story of 450 Years, Thomas Y. Crowell Company (New York, NY, 1956), pp. 158, fig. 72

Paul Zucker, Styles in Painting: A Comparative Study, Dover Publications Inc. (New York, NY, 1963), p. 274, fig. 221

Corcoran Gallery of Art, A Catalogue of the Collection of American Paintings in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Volume I: Painters Born Before 1850, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., 1966), p. 50

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT, 1967), n.p.

Harold E. Dickson, Arts of the Young Republic: The Age of William Dunlap, exh. cat., The University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC, 1968), p. 56, fig. 116

William Dunlap, History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, Dover Publications Inc. (New York, 1969), vol. II, p. 261, pl. 228

Alfred V. Frankenstein, After the Hunt: William Harnett and Other American Still Life Painters 1870 - 1900, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA, 1969), p. 88

Daniel M. Mendelowitz, A History of American Art, Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY, 1970), p. 220

James Thomas Flexner, Nineteenth Century American Painting, Chanticleer Press (New York, NY, 1970), p. 194, ill. opp. p. 191

William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke, American Still Life Painting, Praeger (New York, NY, 1971), pp. 52-53

Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 39, ill.

Marie Louise d'Otrange Mastai, Illusion in Art: Trompe l'Oeil, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1975), p. 275, pl. 313

Andrew J. Cosentino, The Paintings of Charles Bird King, 1785-1862, Smithsonian Institution for the National Collection of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C, 1977), pp. 28, 80-83, 188, cat. 501, ill. p. 81 as fig. 79

Kynaston McShine, ed., Joseph Cornell, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1980), pp. 59-60, fig. 15

William H. Gerdts, Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterpieces of American Still Life 1801-1939, exh. cat., University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO, 1981), p. 75

John Wilmerding, Important Information Inside: The Art of John F. Peto and the Idea of Still-Life Painting in Nineteenth-Century America, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C., 1983), p. 131

Andrew J. Cosentino and Henry H. Glassie, The Capital Image: Painters in Washington DC 1800-1915, exh. cat., Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, D.C, 1983), pl. 1

Michael David Zellman, ed., American Art Analog, Chelsea House Publishers (New York, NY, 1986), vol. 1, p. 101

Carrie Rebora Barratt, "Sir Thomas Lawrence's 'Benjamin West' for the American Academy of Fine Arts", The American Art Journal, Kennedy Galleries, Inc. (New York, 1989), vol. XXI, no. 3, pp. 36-38, fig. 13, fig. 14 (detail)

Carrie Rebora, "Sir Thomas Lawrence's 'Benjamin West' for the American Academy of the Fine Arts", American Art Journal (1989), vol 21, no. 3, pp. 18-47, pp. 36-38, fig. 13, fig. 14 (detail)

Doreen Bolger, Marc A. Simpson, and John Wilmerding, William M. Harnett, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art / Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1992), p. 191, note 23

Wayne Craven, American Art: History and Culture, Brown & Benchmark Publishers (Madison, WI, 1994), p. 156

Grantland S. Rice, The Transformation of Authorship in America, The University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL and London, England, 1997), cover page

Eleanor Heartney, A Capital Collection: Masterworks from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art and Third Millennium Publishing Limited (Washington, DC, 2002), p. 32

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (New York, NY, 2003), pp. 454-456, cat. 205, ill.

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), pp. 468-470, cat. 205, ill.

David Bjelajac, American Art: A Cultural History, Prentice Hall, Inc. (2005), pp. 186-187, fig. 5.29

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 149, ill.

Rowena Houghton Dasch, Unraveling the Deception: Trompe l'Oeil as Guide to Charles Bird King's Picture Gallery, 1824-1861, Athanor (Florida State University Department of Art History, 2008), XXVI, pp. 47-50, ill. p. 50 as fig.3

Laura Turner Igoe, "All Things Perish: Joseph Biays Ord and the Plight of Antebellum American Still-Life Painting, Athanor (2010), vol. XXVIII, pp. 65-73, p. 72, fig. 7

Sarah Cash, ed., Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, 2011), p. 64, fig. 2

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 27, 328-330, cat. 292, ill, fig. 48 (detail), and Appendix A

Kenneth Baker, "Things and Things to Come", The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA, July 8, 1982), ill. p. 20

Andrew J. Cosentino, "Charles Bird King: An Appreciation", The American Art Journal, Kennedy Galleries, Inc. (New York, May 1974), vol. VI, no. 1, pp. 54-71, pp. 58-60 and note, ill. p. 58 as fig. 6

Wolfgang Born, "Notes on Still-Life Painting in the United States", The Magazine Antiques (New York, September 1946), Vol. L, no. 3, pp. 159-160, fig. 6

Fogg Art Museum and Benjamin Rowland, Jr., Real and Ideal in American Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, Summer 1948), cat. 14

Chad Mandeles, "William Michael Harnett's 'The Old Cupboard Door' and the Tradition of Vanitas", American Art Journal, Kennedy Galleries, Inc. (New York, Summer 1986), Vol. XVIII, No. 3, pp. 51-62, p. 56

Exhibition History

Annual Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, 1832, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1832 - 12/31/1832

Real and Ideal in American Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1948 - 09/01/1948

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

The Persistence of Memory: Continuity and Change in American Cultures, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/29/1995 - 05/13/2001

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

Subjects and Contexts

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Verification Level

4 - Best. Object is extensively researched, well described and information is vetted