Ryan Paints John F. Peto’s 1880s Still Life Object for Demo at the Peto Museum

January 29, 2015 Purnell Cropper

Ryan’s painting on her homemade cigar-box easel, as she signs Still Life with J. F. Peto’s Salt-glazed Mug, Clementine, and Match, 2014.

Abbey Ryan, assistant professor of art and design, was recently invited to teach a painting workshop at the John F. Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, N.J. John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), born in Philadelphia, was a late nineteenth-century figure in the trompe l’oeil school of American still life painting.

Ryan's finished painting, Still Life with J. F. Peto's Salt-glazed Mug, Clementine, and Match, 2014, Private Collection. Ryan’s finished painting, Still Life with J. F. Peto’s Salt-glazed Mug, Clementine, and Match, 2014, Private Collection.

Ryan painted Peto’s copper jug in 2013, and the Peto Museum honored Ryan by inviting her to use Peto's still life objects in her painting demonstration during this year’s workshop. In addition to Peto’s characteristic use of matches as subject matter, Peto often painted the salt-glazed mug that Ryan selected from the Museum’s archive for her still life. Commenting about the experience, Ryan says, “Painting Peto’s salt-glazed mug was an incredible experience, especially because Peto used the mug so often in his still life paintings. As I was painting, I was amazed, thinking about how Peto held this very object in his hands.”

Peto's paintings of the same salt-glazed mug in Mugs, Pipe and Matches and Book, Pipe and Mug, both c. 1880, in the National Gallery’s catalogue. Peto’s paintings of the same salt-glazed mug in Mugs, Pipe and Matches and Book, Pipe and Mug, both c. 1880, in the National Gallery’s catalogue.

Two examples of Peto’s salt-glazed mug paintings pictured here are Mugs, Pipe and Matches and Book, Pipe and Mug, both from c. 1880, which were on view in the exhibition, Important Information Inside: The Art of John F. Peto and the Idea of Still-Life Painting in Nineteenth-Century America, at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art in 1983. Also pictured here is Ryan signing her painting, Still Life with J. F. Peto’s Salt-glazed Mug, Clementine, and Match, while it is still on her homemade cigar-box easel. View more photos of Ryan’s painting demo, more of Peto’s paintings, and her workshop. Visit abbeyryan.com for more information about Ryan’s work.

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