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Did you know we have nearly 600 artworks that contain food? More than 30 are on view right now.

This Thanksgiving, we're sharing some of our favorite food paintings for you to see online and in person. From Renaissance feasts to 20th century toast, there are more than enough culinary delights to enjoy.

And if you’re in town on Thanksgiving Day or Friday, don’t miss our special Thanksgiving meal at the Cascade Café. We’re open!

Osias Beert the Elder, Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, c. 1620/1625

Osias Beert the Elder, Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, c. 1620/1625, oil on panel

1. Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine, c. 1620/1625

Flemish painter Osias Beert filled this tabletop still life with detailed objects and expensive delicacies. The artist celebrates a world of abundance and beauty in a style that shows off his expert use of texture and realistic detail.

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Balthasar van der Ast, Basket of Fruits, c. 1622

Balthasar van der Ast, Basket of Fruits, c. 1622, oil on panel

2. Basket of Fruits, c. 1622

Dutch artist Balthasar van der Ast painted soft outlines, used muted colors, and selectively highlighted the centers of his still lifes. He reinforced the dramatic effect by bringing objects in the painting close to the viewer and by reducing the space between them.

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Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Peacock Pie, 1627

Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Peacock Pie, 1627, oil on panel

3. Still Life with Peacock Pie, 1627

This still life by Dutch painter Pieter Claesz is more than four feet across. When you look at the painting, the life-size objects become part of your space.

Watch: 'Have you ever cooked a peacock?' with chefs Carla Hall and Chris Curtis

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Luis Meléndez, Still Life with Figs and Bread, c. 1770

Luis Meléndez, Still Life with Figs and Bread, c. 1770, oil on canvas

4. Still Life with Figs and Bread, c. 1770

Now on view: West Building, Ground Floor - Gallery 39

Spanish painter Luis Meléndez captured everyday objects in great detail. Notice the effects of color; the subtle changes in texture; and his marvelous use of light, which usually come from the left in his paintings.

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Alexandre-François Desportes, Still Life with Dressed Game, Meat, and Fruit, 1734

Alexandre-François Desportes, Still Life with Dressed Game, Meat, and Fruit, 1734, oil on canvas

5. Still Life with Dressed Game, Meat, and Fruit, 1734

Now on view: West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 53

This "buffet" painting by French artist Alexandre-François Desportes features exquisite cutlery (the bone-handled knife placed on the edge of the wooden table), kitchenware (the copper pot under a basket of oranges), and fine china (the large platter holding the pheasants).

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Raphaelle Peale, A Dessert, 1814

Raphaelle Peale, A Dessert, 1814, oil on wood

6. A Dessert, 1814

Now on view: West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 69A

Raphaelle Peale was considered the first professional still life painter in the United States. This painting showcases Peale’s technical skill as well as the classic order and serene beauty of his works.

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Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples and Peaches, c. 1905

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Apples and Peaches, c. 1905, oil on canvas

7. Still Life with Apples and Peaches, c. 1905

“The eye must grasp, bring things together,” Paul Cézanne once said. “The brain will give it shape.” An artist creates the world they paint, and each object in a still life, as well as its placement, is the result of a careful decision.

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Robert Seldon Duncanson, Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, 1848

Robert Seldon Duncanson, Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, 1848, oil on board

8. Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, 1848

Now on view: West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 69A

This painting is part of a small group of still lifes by African American artist Robert Seldon Duncanson. During his lifetime, Duncanson was best known for pastoral landscapes of American, Canadian, and European scenery. 

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Walt Kuhn, Green Apples and Scoop, 1939

Walt Kuhn, Green Apples and Scoop, 1939, oil on canvas

9. Green Apples and Scoop, 1939

Although American painter Walt Kuhn is most famous for depicting circus workers, still lifes were also an important part of his work. This is one of two major paintings he completed during the summer of 1939 in Ogunquit, Maine.

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James Rosenquist, White Bread, 1964

James Rosenquist, White Bread, 1964, oil on canvas

10. White Bread, 1964

Now on view: East Building, Upper Level - Gallery 407D

James Rosenquist was a major American painter associated with pop art. But he never fit comfortably into the pop category—as this painting demonstrates. He generally avoided brand names and logos, and he approached commercial illustration even more closely than other pop artists.

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Alan Manton
Digital Producer

November 23, 2022