Lemuel E. Wilmarth (1835-1918)
- LEMUEL E. WILMARTH (1835-1918)
- Still Life with Peaches
- Oil on canvas
- 9 ¾ x 13 ¾ inches
- Signed lower left
While Wilmarth painted numerous sentimental genre scenes, likely inspired by his Germanic training, he is also known for his meticulous still lifes, which are rooted in the Netherlandish tradition of the 16th and 17th centuries. In their exceptional finish and paint handling, Wilmarth’s still lifes reflect his academic training with Jean-Léon Gérôme. Yet, the abundance of works in this genre produced by Wilmarth can also be considered a rejection of the Academic institution that trained him, which relegated still lifes to the lowest rung of artistic recognition in its “Hierarchy of Genres.” Wilmarth’s still lifes elevate his subject through the careful depiction of sumptuous textures, exact finishing and trompe l’oeil details.
Wilmarth produced numerous works featuring peaches in various informal compositional arrangements. He likely favored peaches as his subject due to their intricate soft and fuzzy texture, which allowed him to showcase his talent for detail. Here, Wilmarth paints an array of yellow and white peaches and their leafy stems atop a wooden cabinet. White peaches, sweeter in taste, are more delicate, thereby making them more expensive and more difficult to acquire, especially in the nineteenth century.