Edward Chalmers Leavitt (1842-1904)
Flowers Still Life
Most likely circa 1880-1895
16 Inches x 10.5 Inches
Oil on Board
Edward C. Leavitt, born in 1842, has been described as "Providence, Rhode Island's leading still-life painter" in the late 19th Century. (Zellman 324) His teacher, James Morgan Lewin, was a prominent still-life painter in Fall River, Massachusetts, a neighboring town.
Leavitt, a detailed, sharp-focused, realistic painter, was in love with texture and light, and was prolific and successful, painting a variety of still life subjects including flowers, fruit and even fish and dead game animals. His objects, including costly antiques and household decorative items, were often placed on ornamental, gleaming surfaces.
He was a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy of Design in the 1870s and 1890s. The artist, who died in 1904, moved from a position of success and popularity to being ignored for many years until the publication of William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke's American Still-Life Painting in 1971. It is uncertain whether this disastrous loss of respect took place because Leavitt's work declined in quality during the last decade of his life, or because he was a victim of the periodic shifts in taste and fashion that afflict the arts.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
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