"Basket and Peaches" Oil on canvas on board, 16" x 20" unframed
This piece was discovered in an antique gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. After numerous, painstaking hours were spent by a profession art conservator removing layer upon layer of nearly opaque, brown varnish and grime, it was discovered that beneath was the unmistakable work of the renound artist Levi Wells Prentice. Self-taught artist Prentice is best known for his realistic still-life compositions of fruit arranged within a landscape, or abundantly spilling from baskets. Early in his career, he painted portraits and landscapes of the Adirondack Mountain region of Lewis County, New York, where Prentice was born in 1851. Prentice later turned to painting still life subjects when he moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1883. He was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association and frequently exhibited his paintings there. In addition to his artistic talents, Prentice also designed his own frames and made his own brushes and palettes. Prentice's fruit still lifes are compositions of dramatic co! ntrasts. The shift between dark background areas and the vibrant hues of the fruit give the compositions an exciting, visual energy. The fruit is presented with clarity and precision. An emphasis is placed on the idea of man vs. nature, wooden baskets with the fleeting qualities of nature. These paintings also demonstrate Prentice\rquote s remarkable skills at rendering color, form, and texture. Noted art historian, William H. Gerdts observed: "there are several works by Prentice in which he achieves a quality of illusionism which is unsurpassed." In 1993 Levi Wells Prentice was celebrated in a retrospective exhibition at the Adirondack Museum in New York. His works are represented in many museums including the New York State Museum, Hudson River Museum, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Montclair Art Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery. He is an extensively listed artist with powerful auction records!