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"The Tilted Bowl"

ca. 1840
Origin: America, New York, Dutchess County (probably)
Unframed: 14 1/2" X 17 1/2" and Framed: 18 3/8" x 21 3/8"
Paint on cotton velvet
Gift of the Museum of Modern Art, formerly in the Collection of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1932.403.1
A composition showing a Canton-type bowl with pseudo-Chinese characters on it, the bowl tipped at about a 45-degree angle on a brown rectangular base and spilling various fruits, while other fruits are clustered around the bowl. A large grape vine and its leaves fill the upper left corner along with a stylized flying insect. Several colors seem to have faded considerably.

The 2-inch mahogany-veneered frame is probably a period replacement.
Label:Research thus far has revealed only one potential artist: Matilda A. Haviland, the wife of Hiram Haviland (1805-1887), a farmer and carpenter of Quaker Hill, Pawling, Dutchess County, New York [n. 1].

Many examples of this popular theorem design exist, with variations in the locations of the fruits perhaps indicating that stencils were made separately for each item. Haviland's dispersed arrangement creates a relatively abstract interpretation of the design. The freehand ink-and-yellow butterfly in the upper left corner is a rare and fanciful addition to the basic composition.

Haviland seems to have left her work unfinished, because the whitest spaces, which were reserved for several different fruits, are not faded; they lack pigment altogether.Haviland also recycled the velvet primary support from an earlier project, as indicated by the faint traces left by two parallel, horizontal rows of stitching.

Provenance:Found in New York (state vs. city is undetermined); M/M Elie Nadelman, Riverdale, NY; Edith Gregpr Halpert, Downstown Gallery, New York, NY; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, NY; given by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, in 1939; given by MoMA to CWF in June 1954.
Inscription(s):Signed at lower right in ink in script: "Matilda A. Haviland". Within the composition, the oval on the side of the bowl is lettered "R. A. G."