DescriptionEMILIE PREYER (German, 1849-1930)
Still Life with Summer Fruits and Champagne, 1875
Oil on canvas
14-1/4 x 20 inches (36.2 x 50.8 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Emile Preyer 1875
Private collection, North Carolina;
By descent to the present owner.
Perhaps best known as the accomplished daughter of one of Germany's preeminent still life painters, Emilie Preyer developed an exquisite manner of painting that was at once in keeping with the iconic style of her celebrated father, Johann Wilhelm Preyer, and yet also all her own.
Trained in the esteemed tradition of the Düsseldorf School of painting, both father and daughter chose as their primary subject matter the meticulous rendering of fruit, flowers and other tabletop items associated with banquets, abundance and affluence. These items were typically arranged atop and often cascading over slabs of marble, though Emilie would often choose to cover her surfaces with a tablecloth, showcasing her ability to carefully illustrate the detailed folds and shadows in the fabric.
Encouraged and tutored by her father, Emilie Preyer began still life painting as a very young woman in the 1860s. Though her talent and technical skill showed tremendous promise, women were at the time not admitted to any university, so she trained unofficially at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, under the personal tutelage of her father.
By 1870, at the young age of twenty-one, Emilie had become an internationally recognized artist, not only owing to the reputation of Johann Wilhelm, but as an extraordinary still life painter in her own right. She enjoyed great success during her career, especially in the United States, where the Metropolitan and Philadelphia Museums of Art acquired her work, as did many prestigious private collectors. Today, many of her paintings can still be found in both private and museum collections across both the U.S. and Europe.
The present work, executed by Preyer in her mature, developed period, is an exceptional example of the artist's work in still life. Depicted on a considerably larger scale than the majority of her works, which were typically in the range of 7 x 9 inches (15.5 x 20.5 cm) and 10 x 13 in. (25.5 x 34.5 cm), the present example is of a rare large size rarely seen on the market, 14 ¼ x 20 inches (36.2 x 50.8 cm). The rendering of the details in the composition is simply superb. Illuminated by light entering from a lateral source, each object seems to come to life: the soft skin of the peaches, the luminescent, pristine sphere of each grape, the naturalistically executed veins of the grape leaves, upon which a tiny drop of moisture has accumulated, and the enchantingly spiraled coils of a grape vine. Other appealing details further enhance the visual pleasure of this work, including the delicate effervescent bubbles on the surface of the champagne, and even two tiny flies, one of which camouflages itself by clinging to the deep purple skin of a plum. In this lovely work by the artist, each colorful and finely painted element combines to create a masterful composition, dazzling in its visual effects, and charming in its delightful detail.
The work is wax lined. There is scattered frame abrasion to the paint surface along the extreme edges. There appears to be mild, stable surface cracking that is most evident in raking light. There appear to be scattered small spots of inpainting along the extreme edges to address frame abrasion. There appear to be a few pin-sized spots of inpainting in the lower left corner, along the left margin and along the lower margin. There appear to be four small spots of inpainting in the center of the composition, in the glass and above the two central leaves. There appear to several pin-sized spots of inpainting in the background. Framed Dimensions 20.625 X 26.375 Inches
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