- Gallery Text
Sarah Miriam Peale was one of the first professional female artists in the United States. Active in Baltimore and Philadelphia during the 1820s, she gained fame for her portraits and still lifes. This painting, one of Peale’s greatest works, portrays fruit in an ideal, unblemished state. No bruises or dents mar the melons, peaches, or grapes assembled on the table; rather, each is rendered as an exquisite, glistening jewel.
The Peale family occupies a unique position in the annals of American art history. Under the direction of the painter, naturalist, and museum proprietor Charles Willson Peale, ten members of the family became prolific, well-regarded painters. Sarah Miriam trained with her father, James Peale, a miniaturist and still-life painter. Her cousin Raphaelle Peale also had a significant influence on her work, and may have helped paint the grape leaves and watermelon in this painting.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Sarah Miriam Peale, American (Philadelphia, PA 1800-1885 Philadelphia, PA)
Raphaelle Peale, American (Annapolis, MD 1774 - 1825 Philadelphia, PA)
- Still Life with Watermelon
- Other Titles
- Former Title: Still Life--Water-melon, etc.
- Work Type
- Creation Place: North America, United States
Level 2, Room 2410, South Arcade
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on panel
- 46.4 x 67 cm (18 1/4 x 26 3/8 in.)
frame: 63.5 x 85.7 x 7.6 cm (25 x 33 3/4 x 3 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: l.l.: Sarah M. Peale 1822
- Norman Hirschl, New York, NY, 1951; private collector, New York, NY; [Hollis Taggart Gallery, New York, NY, 2006].
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Daniel A. Pollack, Class of 1960, American Art Acquisition Fund
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- Publication History
Anna Wells Rutledge, Cumulative Record of Exhibition Catalogues: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1807-1870; The Society of Artists, 1800-1814; The Artists’ Fund Society, 1835-1845. (Philadelphia, PA, 1955), p. 169, no. 452
Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), ill. p. 136
Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7 (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 18
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. 35, 395-97, cat. 358, ill.
- Exhibition History
Eleventh Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 05/01/1822 - 05/31/1822
Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011
GenEd US12 American Encounters: Art, Contact, and Conflict, 1560-1860 (S427) Spring 2012, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 05/12/2012
32Q: 2410 South Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014
- Subjects and Contexts
- Verification Level
4 - Best. Object is extensively researched, well described and information is vetted