Still Life with Cake

Artist: Raphaelle Peale (1774–1825)

Date: 1818

Culture: American

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 10 3/4 x 15 1/4 in. (27.3 x 38.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1959

Accession Number: 59.166

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 756
This typical still life by Raphaelle Peale, the son of Charles Willson Peale, may have been the picture exhibited in 1819 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as "Still Life—Wine, Cakes, Grapes, &c." A similar picture dating from the same year is in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Peale's tightly grouped still lifes are often permeated with a delicate melancholy akin to that which characterized the life of the artist; he was an alcoholic who suffered the effects of arsenic and mercury poisoning caused by his work as a taxidermist in his father's museum. His spare, essential style may have been influenced by the Spanish still lifes he studied in Mexico and by the works of Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1818.
Signature: [at lower left]: Raphaelle Peale Feb 9: 1818
Museum of the Harmony Society, Ambridge, Pennsylvania, until about 1850; Susannah (Mrs. John) Duss; Anderson Bouchelle; M. Knoedler and Company, New York; sold through The Old Print Shop, New York, 1950; Hewitt Galleries, New York, 1950–59