I'm drawn to still life images because of their focus on a domestic world. These images get us to pay more attention to the things we come into contact with every day, things small enough to hold in our hands. 

Above: Gerhard Richter "Roses", 1994, Oil on Canvas. 

Above: Nicholas de Stael (1914-1955), The Shelf

Above: Juan de Zubaran (1620-1649), Still Life with Plate of Apples and Orange Blossom, 1640

Above: Laura Letinsky, Untitled 54, from her series "I Did Not Remember I Had Forgotten", 2002. My friend Randi Steinberger told me about Laura Letinsky, and I'm so glad she did. You'll see a lot of her work in this post. I love the referential character of the images, as well as the sense of life having been lived in them. The suffused light gives them a particular beauty.

Above: Robert MacBryde (1913-1966), Scottish Still Life Painter, and Set Designer.

Above: Mary Potter (1900-1981), "Golden Kipper", 1939, Tate Collection. In 1939, because of the war, kipper was a hard to come by luxury. These colors make it look like something opulent, exotic. This was shown at the Royal Academy in 1940. 

Above: Maira Kalman, "Plate of Fish", 2011. I think it's interesting how much this painting shares with the Mary Potter above.

Above: Mary Fedden (1915-2012), Pink and Orange, 1966

Above: Wayne Thiebaud, Lemon Cake 1964. There's a wonderful video of Wayne Thiebaud talking about being influenced by Giorgio Morandi you can find here. You'll find one of Morandi's paintings a little further on.

Above: Evelyn Hofer, Flowers, Villa Medici, Rome, 1982

Above: George Stoll Tupperware. Stoll makes his objects out of beeswax, paraffin, and pigment, giving everyday  mass produced objects the honor of handmade devotion to detail.

Above: Claudio Bravo, "White Wool", 2004, Oil on canvas. Bravo is Chilean, but lived after 1972 in Morocco where the light and color inspired him.

Above: Liza Lou, "Loo Roll", 2010, Glass beads and cotton.

Above: Robert Gober Untitled (Sink), 1984. Plaster, wood, wire lath, aluminum, watercolor, an semi-gloss enamel paint.

Above: Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), Still Life 1950, Phillips Collection. You can see more of his work on an earlier post, Thinking About Morandi.

Above: Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992), Photograph of Atelier Morandi, 1989-1990

Above: Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992), Photograph of Atelier Morandi

Above: Andre Derain (1880-1954), Still Life, 1913

Above: William Scott, Still Life With Frying Pan, 1973

Above: Robert Therrien, No Title (Mini Stacked Pots and Pans I-Tart Pan), 2005

Above: Laura Letinsky, Untitled #8 (The Fall) 2009

Above: Andre Kertesz, "Fork", 1927

Above: Joaquin Torres-Garcia (1874-1949), 1940

Above: Georges Braque (1882-1963), Atelier I, 1949

Above: Mary Fedden, "The Spanish Chair", 1998

 Above: Henri Matisse, Still Life, 1919

Above: Robert H. Colescott (British, b.1925), "White Blossoms", 1961

Above: Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937), "Still Life with Silhouette". 

Above: Francisco de Zubaran (1598-1664), "Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose", 1633. This painting is currently part of the still life show at the Norton Simon in Pasadena, and a part of their permanent collection.

Above: Juan Sanchez Cotan (1560-1627), "Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber".

Above: Laura Letinsky Untitled #10, from the series "Morning and Melancholia", 1999. The way the objects are precariously placed on the edge of the table reminds me of the Cotan painting above.

Above: Henri Matisse, "Ivy in Flower", 1941

Above: Odilon Redon (1840-1916), "Flowers", 1903

Above: William Nicholson (1872-1949), "Rose Lustre", 1920

Above: George Braque (1882-1963), "Mandoline a la Sonate", 1939-1940.

Above: Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005), "Still Life: Autumn Fashion", 1978

Above: Edouard Manet (1832-1883), "Bunch of Asparagus", 1880.

Above: Charles Jones (1866-1959), "Beet Market Favourite", 1895-1910. Charles Jones was a gardener, who kept his photography a secret even from his family. His work was discovered after he passed away.

Above: William Nicholson (1872-1949), "The Lustre Bowl", 1911

Above: William Scott (1913-1989), "Still Life with White on Beans"

Above: Miroco Machiko, 2008

Above: Milton Avery (1885-1965)

Above: Janice Biala (1903-2000). You can read her truly interesting life story here

Above: Henri Matisse (1869-1954), "Fleurs Dans un Pot en Verre", 1942-43.

Above: Henri Matisse (1869-1954), "Still Life with Three Vases", 1933

Above: Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937), Still Life of Pink Tulips in a Blue Jar.  Cadell was a Scottish Coulorist. This still life was painted after Cadell had moved into a home where he painted the front door in a strong ultramarine, and the walls inside a rich mauve.

Above: William Nicholson (1872-1949), "Miss Simpson's Boots", 1919

Above: William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Above: Laura Letinsky, Untitled #22, from the "Morning and Melancholia" series, 1999

Above: Daniel Spoerri (born 1930), "Tableau Plege", 1972, mixed media in plexiglass box.

Above: Odilon Redon (1840-1916), Flowers, 1905

Above: Maira Kalman, "Pink Bed", 2011

Above: Anne Redpath (1895-1965), "Pinks", 1948. I discovered Anne Redpath when I visited the National Gallery in Edinburgh years ago. More of her work below.

Above: Anne Redpath (1895-1965), "Still Life with Orange Chair", 1949

Above: Anne Redpath (1895-1965), "Still Life with Teapot on Round Table", 1945

Above: Duncan Grant, "Omega Paper Flowers on the Mantelpiece, 46 Gordon Square", 1914-1915

Above: Mary Potter, "The Window, Chiswick", 1929. Mary Potter was an early member of the Seven and Five Society, a group of artists whose members included a few of the other artists in this post and the second part of the still life post...Ivon Hitchens (below) and Ben and Winifred Nicholson.

Above: Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979), "Flowers in a Blue Jug", 1935.

Above: Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), "Still Life of Apples and Biscuits", 1895.

Above: Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), "Crowded Table"

Above: Domenico Gnoli, "Without a Still Life", 1966. Synthetic polymer paint and sand on canvas.

Above: Laura Letinsky, Untitled #80, from the "I Did Not Remember I Had Forgotten" series, 2003

Above: Laura Letinsky, Untitled #49, from the "I Did Not Remember I Had Forgotten" series, 2002

Above: Claudio Bravo (1936-2011), "Naturaleza Muerta, Duraznos".

Above: Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), "Still Life with a Curtain", 1898.

Above: Nan Goldin, "Breakfast in Bed, Torre di Bellosguardo", 1996. Goldin's photo has the richness of an oil painting.

Above: Adriaen van der Spelt (Dutch, 1630-1673) and Frans van Mieris (Dutch, 1635-1681), Trompe L'Oeil Still Life with a Flower Garland and a Curtain", 1658. This painting, with an interestingly modern feel though it was painted more than 350 years ago, has been an inspiration for contemporary artists, as you can see in the two pieces below.

Above: William Daniels, "Still Life with Flowers and Curtains" 2007. This painting originates as an aluminum foil collage, which he captures in paint. This piece is oil on board. He describes it as "painting pure light".

Below: Friedrich Kunath, "Famous Last Words", 2012 from a show currently at Blum and Poe till October 27th 2012.


  1. It hadn't occurred to me until I saw this post how mysterious is the decision to produce a still life... especially when you move out of the realm of flowers and fruit. What is the artist seeing, exactly? Why a bunch of white asparagus, Manet? And what's up with the wool, Claudio? But it's hard to focus on the questions when there's a COLOR ORGY going on! The Redon/Redpath/Kalman sequence alone is fantastic.
    Another exquisitely curated post, Laura. Thank you.

  2. I love your point about the domesticity of still lifes. Reading your posts is always like taking a wonderful art vacation... XX

  3. I particularly love the still lifes by Laura Letinsky. Thanks for introducing me to her work!

  4. I came across your blog while image-searching for still life paintings. The image of Juan de Zubaran's "Still Life with Plate of Apples and Orange Blossoms" stopped me and led me to your collection of paintings. I must say you have such a exquisite taste in painting! I really enjoyed all of your postings! Thanks!

  5. GREAT WORK ! i love still life and your selection is so fine !

  6. Lovely collection. Thanks for putting together.