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Adolphe Monticelli, Still Life: Fruit

Key facts
Full title Still Life: Fruit
Artist Adolphe Monticelli
Artist dates 1824 - 1886
Date made about 1878-82
Medium and support Oil on wood, probably mahogany
Dimensions 45.7 × 61 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented as part of the 'Harry Wearne Collection of Twelve Paintings by Monticelli' to the Tate Gallery, 1939; transferred, 1956
Inventory number NG5014
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Still Life: Fruit
Adolphe Monticelli

A wine glass, a flask-shaped carafe, a knife and a plate of fruit are shown on a table, set against a flat dark background. The table is covered by a cloth decorated with flowers and blue stripes that help create a sense of recession into depth.

Most of Monticelli’s still life paintings were made between 1875 and 1885, with the majority, including this one, were completed from 1878 to 1882. The patterned tablecloth shown here is also present in the artist’s Still Life: Oysters, Fish and A Vase of Wild Flowers (both in the National Gallery), making it possible that they were painted as pendants.

The position of the table, which is placed parallel to the picture plane, recalls similar compositions by Cezanne painted in the late 1880s. It is worth remembering that Cezanne was an admirer of Monticelli’s use of impasto (thickly applied paint) as well as the directional brushstrokes of his later work, and the two painters were good friends during the 1880s.

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