James Peale painted portraits, both miniatures and larger works in oils, the mainstay of his profession, until about 1818, when his eyesight began to fail. He then painted still lifes, quickly becoming one of America's foremost still-life painters, along with his nephew Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825). The crisp and solemn tone of his still lifes have been associated with those by seventeenth-century Spanish artists, specifically the work of Juan Sanchez Cotan, whose paintings were shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1818. The perishable foodstuffs alluded to the transience of life, a theme that may have served as a personal rumination on aging for this artist late in his career. This still life was painted for Peale’s daughter Anna Claypoole Peale Staughton (1791-1878) and may, in fact, be among three vegetable still lifes the artist exhibited in 1827 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

RELATED EXAMPLES: Copy by the artist. Still Life with Vegetables, 1818, Winterthur.

Book excerpt: Warren, David B., Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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James Peale, American, 1749–1831
Still Life with Vegetables
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 20 × 26 1/2 in. (50.8 × 67.3 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, museum purchase funded by the Theta Charity Antiques Show in honor of Mrs. Fred T. Couper, Jr.

Current Location
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Accession Number

[Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York]; purchased by MFAH, February 1, 1985.