An Abundance of Fruit

James Peale, American, 1749 - 1831

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about 1820-1825

Oil on panel

Overall: 19 1/4 × 26 in. (48.9 × 66 cm)

Frame: 28 1/4 × 35 1/4 in. (71.8 × 89.5 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the bequest of Dr. Frank P. Stetz, given in loving memory of David Stewart Hull, Class of 1960; the Miriam H. and S. Sidney Stoneman Acquisition Fund; the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; the Florence and Lansing Porter Moore 1937 Fund; and the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund

2010.61

Geography

Place Made: United States, North America

Period

19th century

Object Name

Painting

Research Area

Painting

On view

Inscriptions

Inscribed, on reverse, in red crayon: Dining Room / Rembrandt Peale [sic]; in graphite: Varnish / Mrs. [illeg.]

Label

A variety of perfectly ripe summer and fall fruits are carefully mounded near the center of a plain wooden table in this harmonious Neoclassical composition. Though humble in appearance, the jewel-like tones of this bounty proclaim the inherent natural abundance of North America. The only object not domestically produced—a Chinese-export porcelain basket—echoes the importance of both local and international trade networks in early America. A still-life painting such as this would have likely adorned an elegant upper-class dining room. 


From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art


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An otherwise unremarkable wooden table becomes a nexus of trade networks. Locally grown fruits signify the abundance of North American soil, and they are arranged in and around a white porcelain basket exported from China to the United States. This combination of locally and internationally sourced goods might remind you of your own dining table. When looking at this historic painting, we might ask who picked these fruits—the artist, a hired laborer, or an enslaved person? With the increased international sourcing of today’s food supply, these questions remain relevant. Who grows our food? What chemicals are used? Where does the water come from?

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

SART 25, Painting I, Esme Thompson, Fall 2014

ANTH 7.05, Animals and Humans, Laura Ogden, Winter 2022

GEOG 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ARTH 5.01, Introduction to Contemporary Art, Mary Coffey and Chad Elias, Winter 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

SPAN 65.15, Wonderstruck: Archives and the Production of Knowledge in an Unequal World, Silvia Spitta and Barbara Goebel, Summer 2022

Art History 38.04, Food and Art: Global History, Nicola Camerlenghi, Spring 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Art History 40.01, American Art and Identity, Mary Coffey, Fall 2023

Creative Writing 10.02, Writing and Reading Fiction, Katherine Crouch, Fall 2023

Geography 11.01, Qualitative Methods, Emma Colven, Fall 2023

Geography 2.01, Introduction to Human Geography, Coleen Fox, Fall 2023

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-September 12, 2021.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 7, 2010-July 12, 2015.

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–July 22, 2022

Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Penn's Promise: Still Life Painting in Pennsylvania, 1795-1930. May 29, 1988-July 31, 1988, no. 76.

Publication History

Chew, Paul A. and Russell E. Burke III. Penn's Promise: Still Life Painting in Pennsylvania, 1795-1930 (Greensburg, Penn.: Westmoreland Museum of Art), 1988, cat. no. 76, color).

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 110, ill. plate no. 41.

Provenance

Henry R. Shoch, Pennsylvania; to Bessie Shoch-Neel (his daughter), Merion Pennsylvania; R. H. Love Galleries, Inc., Chicago, Illinois; Sotheby's, New York, New York American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, November 30, 1989, lot 4; Private Collection; with Michael Altman Fine Art and Advisory Services by 2008; sold to present collection, 2010.

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