|Signed at lower right: "R Peale"|
Label (fragments on reverse): "EDWARD McDERMOTT/PICTURE LINER/[...]"
Inscribed on frame verso: (in crayon): "Karney Peale"
Rubens was the fourth son of Charles Willson Peale and his first wife, Rachel Brewer. Rubens never learned to paint formally. Instead, he turned to botany, mineralogy and museum management and in 1810 he became Director of his father’s museum in Philadelphia. Rubens was elected a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in 1813. In 1822 he went to Baltimore where he took charge of Rembrandt’s Peale Museum until 1825 when he founded his own museum in New York City. Following the financial panic of 1837 Rubens sold his museum and its collections to P. T. Barnum and in 1841 retired to Woodland Farm, near Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, which was given to him by his wife’s family.
Rubens had constant exposure to the arts through his family and its museums but it was not until he was almost seventy one that he made a sincere commitment to painting. His genuine interest in farming presumably led him to paint the fruit and vegetables he was growing with great care and pride. This work fits the description of a number of still lifes Rubens is recorded to have painted.
This composition probably derives from works by Raphaelle and James Peale but no related painting is known.
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