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Still Life Prints

In Western European art traditions, the still life was an important academic subject that apprentice artists were required to master. Drawing from still life scenes and translating them onto two-dimensional canvas was critical for artists to learn and master perspective.

Although never assigned the importance of history and battle scenes, or even portraiture, the lowly still life was a repository of cultural information. In the Dutch tradition, the still life took on the important role as the conduit for moral and religious message in the 17th century. Dedicated realist artists were interested in creating "trompe l'oeil," or hyper-real depictions of these compositions, and often they served as a "memento mori," or reminder of mortality for the viewer.

Dutch still life compositions often boldly included skulls or other symbolic reminders of the ephemeral nature of life. More subtle suggestions of the same idea may have included a rendering of a feast, half eaten, with no human presence.

At the turn of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso and George Braque worked through their early ideas of cubism by composing and rendering still scenes of fruit, instruments, and other objects.


Quick Facts

  • Still life images of food and other objects appear in Egyptian tombs. Though historical examples of still life typically involve food or flowers, contemporary exhibitions have begun to consider when other assembled objects broaden the definition
  • A contemporary example of the still life in printmaking is the work of the artist Tara Donovan. Using everyday materials such as plastic cups, she composes large-scale installations and creates monotype prints from the same materials
  • British artist David Hockney favors interior themes, and many of his prints are composed of still life scenes. His 1998 etching "Van Gogh Chair," a chair with smoking pipe, was reworked in several different color combinations

Recommended Items at Auction

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Eight (8) Decoratively Framed Floral Colored Lithographs
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Eight (8) Decoratively Framed Floral Colored Lithographs
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$555 Bids
David George Rose, Australia (1936-2006), Aubergine 1976, Etching/aquatint ed. 8/30
Mar 11, 11:00 AM AEDT
David George Rose, Australia (1936-2006), Aubergine 1976, Etching/aquatint ed. 8/30
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD804 Bids
Framed Print signed and numbered 21"x 27"
Mar 05, 9:00 AM EST
Framed Print signed and numbered 21"x 27"
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$164 Bids
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Bernard BUFFET (1928 - 1999) Cinq roses- 1986 Lithographie en six couleurs sur Vélin d'Arches
Mar 07, 12:00 PM CET
Bernard BUFFET (1928 - 1999) Cinq roses- 1986 Lithographie en six couleurs sur Vélin d'Arches
by Artcurial
Est: €500- €600
€7504 Bids
Derrick Greaves (British 1927-2022) Etching
Mar 06, 6:00 PM EST
Derrick Greaves (British 1927-2022) Etching
by Kodner Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$1103 Bids
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Vintage Prints
Mar 10, 6:00 PM EST
Vintage Prints
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$63 Bids
Marc Chagall, Russian (1887-1985)
Mar 07, 6:00 PM EST
Marc Chagall, Russian (1887-1985)
by Orion Antiques
Est: $100- $300
$502 Bids
Pair of Australian native floral prints (115 x 85cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Pair of Australian native floral prints (115 x 85cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD50- AUD70
AUD202 Bids
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Takashi Murakami (born in 1962) Into the dream (Jumbo corn head mushroom), 1999
Mar 13, 6:00 PM CET
Takashi Murakami (born in 1962) Into the dream (Jumbo corn head mushroom), 1999
by Piasa
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€1,4001 Bid
Gregory Kenneth (Greg) Moncrieff, Australia (b. 1950), The Spirits Wall, Silkscreen ed. 7/12
Mar 11, 11:00 AM AEDT
Gregory Kenneth (Greg) Moncrieff, Australia (b. 1950), The Spirits Wall, Silkscreen ed. 7/12
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD501 Bid
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Roy Lichtenstein - Still Life with Crystal Bowl - 2002 Offset Lithograph 34" x 26.75"
Mar 05, 11:15 AM EST
Roy Lichtenstein - Still Life with Crystal Bowl - 2002 Offset Lithograph 34" x 26.75"
by DUMBO Auctions
Est: $125- $250
$301 Bid
William H. Bailey, Still Life No. 6 (first state)
Mar 07, 11:00 AM CST
William H. Bailey, Still Life No. 6 (first state)
by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Est: $600- $800
$501 Bid
Framed print of whimsical urn 64cms x 51cms., Height 34cm x
Mar 13, 7:30 PM AEDT
Framed print of whimsical urn 64cms x 51cms., Height 34cm x
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD150
AUD101 Bid
Lowell Nesbitt "Iris and Orchid" Lithograph, 1974
Apr 16, 11:00 AM EDT
Lowell Nesbitt "Iris and Orchid" Lithograph, 1974
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$501 Bid
ATTR Warhol Sgd & Stamped Silk Screen
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
ATTR Warhol Sgd & Stamped Silk Screen
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $250
$11 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Still Life Prints


Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries

TGP Auction

TGP Auction

Hotel des Ventes De Bruxelles

Hotel des Ventes De Bruxelles