lower left: Emil. Carlsen. 1882-
Purchased circa 1895 from the artist by Charles A. Walker [d. 1920], Boston; his son, M. Leon Walker, Lexington, Massachusetts, from 1920; (sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 24 May 1940, no. 120); Chester Dale [1883-1962], New York; bequest 1963 to NGA.
- Second Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1908-1909, no. 109, as Still Life and Symphony of Copper and Brass.
- Seventy-Ninth Exhibition, The Boston Art Club, 1909, no. 42, as Still Life and Symphony in Copper and Brass.
- Paintings from the Chester Dale Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1943-1944 (shown only one year, while most of loan remained until 1951).
- Paintings other than French in the Chester Dale Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 38, repro.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 20, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 32, repro.
- Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: repro. 178, 179.
- Wilmerding 1983, 80, repro. 79.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 37, repro.
- Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 46-48, color repro.
The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric. The painting has been lined and the original tacking margins removed, but cusping exists only along the top edge. Paint was applied in many layers over a moderately thick white ground. The paints range from opaque to translucent and were applied in varying thicknesses, giving the surface a rich texture with areas of considerable impasto. Brushstrokes are evident in many passages and certain relatively broad and flat areas of paint (especially in the large fish) indicate the use of a palette knife. X-radiography reveals two compositional changes: a third fish was once present in the lower right corner and an additional oyster was at the upper left. The painting is generally in very good condition, with only minor losses. In 1954 the painting was relined, discolored varnish was removed, and the painting was restored. The varnish has become slightly hazy.