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Yellow Basket of Fruit

ca.1835 (probably)
Origin: America
Primary Support; irreg.: 10 3/8 x 14 1/2in. (26.4 x 36.8cm) and Framed: 13 5/8 x 16 9/16in.
Watercolor on wove paper
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1931.303.3
A basket in two shades of yellow with green decoration holds an arrangement of fruits, including grapes, pears, an apple, blueberries, currants or gooseberries, cherries, strawberries, and a peach. Some foliage is also shown. The apple and pears seem oversize compared to the rest of the fruit. The basket "floats," i.e., there is no support, context, background, or point of reference. Artist unidentified.

The 2-inch gilded frame is probably a period replacement.
Label:The gaily striped basket appears to sag beneath the weight of the heavy fruits, an effect inadvertently produced by the freehand leaf decoration on the rim of the basket, giving it the appearance of rolling outward and down. The highlights on the stenciled fruits were probably achieved by the "wash and softening" style recommended in instruction books such as, somewhat later, L. B. Urbino and Henry Day, ART RECREATIONS (Boston: J. E. Tilton and Co., 1868). This method required wetting the painted area with the brush and then passing a handkerchief rapidly over the spot.
Provenance:Found in Boston; Edith Gregor Halpert, Downtown Gallery, New York, N.Y.; Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; Given to C. W. by Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.