This extremely fine study of grapes and peaches was executed in 1870 by Helen R. Searle (1834 - 1884), also known under her married name of Helen Searle Pattison, prominent American painter of still lifes who was stylistically associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.
She was born in Burlington, Vermont, and grew up from the age of ten in Rochester, New York. She started painting still lifes of flowers and fruit early in life; in 1863 she exhibited some at the "Babies' Hospital Relief Bazar" and the following year at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. She taught painting and drawing at Mrs. Bryan's Female Seminary in Batavia. In 1866 she had her first show, at the National Academy of Design in New York.
From 1867 to 1871 she studied art in Düsseldorf, Germany, working privately with Johann Wilhelm Preyer, who was associated with the movement known as the Düsseldorf school of painting. Preyer rarely took private students but made an exception in her case. Her mature style is very similar to the style of Preyer , with less detail and finer color and contemporary reports noted that she was almost his equal as a master painter. Her shows during this time, for example at the Düsseldorf art dealers Bismeyer & Kraus in March 1870, were highly praised in the press.
In 1872, Searle returned to the United States and established a studio in Washington, D.C. She would later return to Europe for a time, and she exhibited a still life of fruit in the Paris Salon of 1879.
Searle was an established still-life painter who has been called "one of the finest fruit and flower painters" of late 19th century America. She had major commissions and exhibitions throughout Germany, at the Paris Salon, and at the National Academy of Design in New York. Most of her paintings are now in private hands, but some are in publicly viewable collections such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Worcester Art Museum. In the span of 1981-2008, Searle's total sales for her artwork was $ 122,805.
Literature: "Helen R. Searle (American, 1830–1884)", Princeton University Art Museum, 29 July 2016; artist lexicons by Thieme/Becker; Saur, Benezit.
Inscription: signed with monogram H.S. and dated 1870.
Technique: oil on wood, gold-plated frame.
Measurements: unframed w 9 2/3" x h 7 1/2" (24,5 x 19 cm ), framed 19 1/2" x 17 1/3"(48,5 x 44 cm).
Condition: in very good condition.