Painted in France, where Bruce lived from 1904 to 1936, this still life depicts cut fruit, a glass with a straw, block-like shapes, and an architectural column with clean lines, geometric clarity, and cool tonalities. The painting exudes a rational stillness, especially when compared to Cubist still lifes by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In fact, Objects on a Table marks a deliberate and profound departure from Cubism, which gained negative associations during World War I because its fragmentation of form appeared to visualize the conflict’s deadly destruction.
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Title:Objects on a Table
Artist:Patrick Henry Bruce (American, Long Island, Virginia 1881–1936 New York, New York)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:35 × 45 3/4 in. (88.9 × 116.2 cm)
Credit Line:George A. Hearn Fund, 1961
the artist (to Roché); Henri-Pierre Roché, Paris (in 1933); [Rose Fried Gallery, New York]; [Graham Gallery, New York, by 1960–61; sold, partially by exchange, to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist (as "Still Life").
Washington, D. C. National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution. "Roots of Abstract Art in America, 1910–1930," December 2, 1965–January 9, 1966, no. 12 (as "Still Life," ca. 1928).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors from the Museum's Collections," October 1–December 7, 1969, no catalogue.
Comune di Milano. December 1970–June 1971.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Curator: Robert Beverly Hale," November 16, 1978–March 4, 1979, extended to March 18, 1979, unnum. checklist.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist," May 31–July 29, 1979, no. 17 (as "Peinture/ Nature morte").
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist," August 22–October 21, 1979, no. 17.
Richmond. Virginia Museum. "Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist," November 26, 1979–January 6, 1980, no. 17.
New York. Washburn Gallery. "Patrick Henry Bruce: An American in Paris," May 23–June 30, 1989, unnum. brochure (front cover; as "Still Life," 1920–21).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Still Life: 1915–1950," February 1, 1995–January 28, 1996, no catalogue.
John I. H. Baur. "Rediscovery." Art in America 48, no. 3 (1960), p. 87, ill., calls it "Still Life" and dates it about 1928; locates it in the Graham Gallery, New York.
Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 144, 146, ill., calls it "Still Life".
William C. Agee and Barbara Rose. Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist. A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1979, pp. 196–97, no. D7, ill. and colorpl. 17, call it "Peinture/ Nature Morte (presently entitled 'Still Life')".
William C. Agee in William C. Agee and Barbara Rose. Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist. A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1979, pp. 28, 30–31.
Barbara Rose in William C. Agee and Barbara Rose. Patrick Henry Bruce: American Modernist. A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1979, pp. 73, 81.
Scarlett and Philippe Reliquet. Henri-Pierre Roché: L'Enchanteur collectionneur. Paris, 1999, pp. 189–90, 280.
Richard Meyer. "Changing Partners: Richard Meyer on 'Reimagining Modernism' at the Met." Artforum 54 (November 2015), ill. p. 144 (color, installation photo).
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