Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis
Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis
Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis

Still Life with Apples and Nuts by John F. Francis

  • American artist John F. Francis composed this exceptional still life composition
  • The painter's works are regarded among the most important American examples of the genre
  • Boasting an extraordinary level of detail, this work reveals his high level of technical skill
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Item No. 30-8779
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John F. Francis
1808-1886 | American

Still Life with Apples and Nuts in a Basket

Signed and dated "J. Francis Pt. 1855" (lower right)
Oil on canvas

The great American still life painter John Francis composed this exceptional tablescape, which evokes the bounty of an autumn harvest. Still Life with Apples and Nuts in a Basket exemplifies the best of his output thanks to its extraordinary level of detail and carefully composed composition. Representing the rich tradition of still life painting in America during the 19th century, Francis' compositions are today counted among the finest of their genre.

Though he began his career as a portrait painter, Francis became particularly renowned for his fruit still lifes such as this, which were highly sought after during the mid-19th century. The genre was especially popular among a rising number of middle-class patrons, who displayed the works in their newly popular dining rooms as indicators of both wealth and good taste. Often capturing fruit or dessert spreads, Francis' compositions implied the beginning or the end of a prolonged feast, while also appealing to a distinctly American desire to celebrate the bounty of the land.

Still Life with Apples and Nuts in a Basket is a quintessential example of Francis' style, bringing together many of his most frequently used motifs. The napkin-draped basket with a distinctive ribbon tie was a favorite detail of the painter, while the ceramic pitcher and the glass water tumbler also appear in numerous Francis works. Each of these props clearly display the artist's technical skill - from the wicker basket and fabric napkin to the gleaming porcelain and water in the glass, each detail and texture captured is a testament to Francis' superior draftsmanship.

Born in Philadelphia in 1808, John Francis achieved considerable success as a portrait painter before turning to the still-life subjects for which he is best remembered today. The artist’s early life remains a mystery. He appears to have been orphaned at an early age and nothing is known about how he came to a career in art. Yet, by 1832, Francis was painting reputable portraits of Pennsylvania gentry in a style that reflected the influence of the great American portraitist Thomas Sully. By the late 1840s, Francis added still life to his repertory, and over the next decade the genre would entirely supplanted portraiture in his output.

Dated 1855

Canvas: 25 1/8" high x 30 1/8" wide
Frame: 34 7/8" high x 39 1/4" wide
specifications
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:America
Subject:Still Life
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