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John Frederick Peto


Alias: John F. Peto

Painter, Still life painter

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(b Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1854; d Island Heights, New Jersey 1907). American painter. John Frederick Peto has a singular place in the American tradition of trompe l'oeil. He follows its subject matter and pictorial conventions, but his more painterly technique, with its obvious, expressive paint handling, belies the supreme intention of deceiving the eye. It is difficult to know precisely how Peto became intrigued by this form of trompe l'oeil, since it is relatively rare in the history of art. Peto did not remain long in the public, artistic realm after he started painting and exhibiting. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Peto was the son of Thomas Peto, a man who, among other jobs, sold picture frames, which may have fed Peto's artistic leanings. Philadelphia had a long history of still life, with a particular tendency toward trompe l'oeil. Peto studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1877 and 1878, and subsequently showed in the Academy's Annual Exhibitions until the mid -1880s. Despite commissions from local Philadelphians, for whom Peto made many pictures, and patrons outside Philadelphia, Peto disengaged himself from the art world. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Important Paintings and Drawings from a Private Collection, June 5, 1997, Lot 11)

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American Still Life Painting, 1800-1900 (28)

Trompe L'Oeil Painting (15)