American, (1808-1886)
Still Life with Apples and Nuts, 1850
oil on canvas
signed and dated lower right "J.F. Francis / Pt. 1850"

oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches

  • Provenance: Pook & Pook, Inc., Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Private Collection, New York, New York.

    Framed dimensions: 28 3/4 x 32 3/4 x 4 1/2

    John Francis was born in Philadelphia in 1808 and although he is today celebrated for revitalizing Still Life painting in the mid 19th Century, he was not as well recognized during his lifetime. He was largely a self-taught artist, producing some of America's most important still lifes. His visually intimate representations were delicately colored and painterly. Francis began to exhibit in Philadelphia in the 1840s and 1850s as a portraitist employing 17th century Dutch techniques.

    His focus was "luncheon" or "dessert" type subjects, which he rendered in bright, radiant color, breaking away from the dominant mode taught by the Peale family of artists in Philadelphia.

    During the early part of his career, he was a traveling portrait painter and silhouettist in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He then spent about 25 years traveling and painting in rural Pennsylvania as well as in Delaware, Tennessee and Washington D.C. Around 1850, the year Still Life with Apples and Nuts was painted, he turned exclusively to still life subjects, using the techniques of 17thcentury Dutch still life painters.

    He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1840 to 1858, and he sold many of his still lifes through the American Art Union. After the death of his wife and two children, Francis abandoned his career and life in Philadelphia.

    During the last twenty years of his life, Francis lived alone and died 1886. No known paintings by him are extant after 1879. According to scholar Alfred Frankenstein in his book, After the Hunt, Francis was a very religious person who died a wealthy man.

    Tags: listed artist, oil painting, still life, fruit basket, 19th century
  • Condition: overall good condition; lined canvas; a few minor repairs apparent under UV light (additional photos available upon request)
    Condition Report Note:
    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE. Thank you for your interest in our sale.

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April 28, 2022 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US


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