Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825)
Do you think you may own a painting by Raphaelle Peale? We authenticate, appraise and research all paintings by this great artist.
Raphaelle Peale was an early American artist and the first son of famous artist Charles Willson Peale. Peale grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and was taught how to paint by his father. By 1804, Peale began to travel all over the known states and worked mostly in Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Along with his brother, fellow painter Rembrandt, Peale traveled to the southern states as a young man. Peale painted miniatures while his brother painted full sized portraits, visiting both Charleston and Savannah.
By 1815, Peale’s health began to decline, and so did his portrait paintings. From then until his death in 1825 he devoted himself to still life paintings, only painting portraits again during his 1820 visit to Maryland. His still life paintings were often very realistic looking, and his use of light was brilliant, like on the apple in “Still Life with Cake.”
The majority of his still life paintings are typical fruit and vegetable on a table composition, incorporating other elements like books and flowers. Many art historians consider Raphaelle Peale to be the first professional American still life painter.
While Peale’s portraits were just as beautiful as any other painters’ at the time, it was truly his still life paintings that set him apart from all the rest. One of Peale’s most famous paintings of a sheet shows his true mastery of detail and textures. Titled both “Venus Rising from the Sea-A Deception” and also “After the Bath,” this 1822 still life is almost photographic and shows the detailed folds of a sheet. This sheet conceals a bather and only the foot and arm of the bather (Venus) are in view.
Peale also was fond of depicting peaches in his still life compositions, a result perhaps from his visit to Savannah.
Today, Peale’s work is housed all over New England and owned in private and public collections. His unknown works could be anywhere from as far south as Georgia all the way north to Maryland. Still wondering about an early American still life painting hanging in your family’s estate? Contact us…it could be by Raphaelle Peale.