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A Dessert by Raphaelle Peale
Raphaelle Peale, A Dessert (Still Life with Lemons and Oranges), 1814, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift (Partial and Promised) of Jo Ann and Julian Ganz Jr. in memory of Franklin D. Murphy 1999.44.1



Raphaelle Peale, American, 1774-1825

Raphaelle Peale was America's first professional still-life painter. His father, Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), was a well-known portrait painter, naturalist, and one of revolutionary America's great cultural leaders. The elder Peale painted a portrait of Raphaelle at age twenty-one, showing him dressed as a gentleman and holding the tools of his profession.

Charles Willson Peale and most theorists of the era believed that still life was a subject worthy only of amateurs. They considered portraiture to be more admirable. Raphaelle's defiant pursuit of still life resulted in some of the most beautiful American paintings of the nineteenth century.

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