By Michael Upchurch/Seattle Times arts writer
The Seattle Art Museum has purchased an 1814 painting by Raphaelle Peale, “Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup,” from the Roy Nutt Family Trust, for an undisclosed sum.
Peale (1774-1825) was the son of artist-naturalist Charles Willson Peale and the brother of portraitist Rembrandt Peale. His painting portrays an eclectic array of objects from his father’s collection, including “a silver mounted ostrich egg from Africa, a Chinese export porcelain pitcher, a celadon bowl, a finely crafted silver spoon, and a gathering of strawberries cultivated on the family’s experimental farm.”
“Still Life with Strawberries and Ostrich Egg Cup” has been on loan to SAM since 1991. In its public announcement, SAM said the painting is regarded as “one of the most beautiful, ambitious, and evocative paintings by this American master of the genre.”
SAM is also the beneficiary of a recent donation from the estate of the late Ruth J. Nutt. It consists of 45 examples of early American decorative art – silver, furniture and needlework – that join six other pieces given to the museum by Nutt, a former SAM trustee. The silver objects, roughly 40 in all, have also been on loan to SAM since 1991.