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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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William Scott Linear Pears 1974 Signed Lithograph
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
William Scott Linear Pears 1974 Signed Lithograph
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Est: $600- $900
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R.C. GORMAN "SACRED CORN" LITHOGRAPH
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
R.C. GORMAN "SACRED CORN" LITHOGRAPH
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CHRISTI BELCOURT - Messages from the Spirits
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
CHRISTI BELCOURT - Messages from the Spirits
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ANDY WARHOL NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER SIGNED/NUMBERED LITHOGRAPH
Apr 27, 6:45 AM EDT
ANDY WARHOL NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER SIGNED/NUMBERED LITHOGRAPH
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ELLSWORTH KELLY (AMERICAN 1923-2015)
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
ELLSWORTH KELLY (AMERICAN 1923-2015)
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POLKE, SIGMAR: "Blumentopf".
May 02, 9:00 AM CEST
POLKE, SIGMAR: "Blumentopf".
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Est: CHF150- CHF300
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Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) Yellow Still Life (from Six Still Lifes), 1974
Apr 25, 10:00 AM CDT
Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) Yellow Still Life (from Six Still Lifes), 1974
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Dali, Salvador
May 04, 10:00 AM CEST
Dali, Salvador
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Est: €0- €0
€1102 Bids
Andy Warhol S&H Green Stamps Invitation
May 02, 11:00 AM EDT
Andy Warhol S&H Green Stamps Invitation
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Klapheck, Konrad. Le grand-père
May 11, 12:00 PM CEST
Klapheck, Konrad. Le grand-père
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Klapheck, Konrad. L'Impatience du
May 11, 12:00 PM CEST
Klapheck, Konrad. L'Impatience du
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After Salvador Dali Lithograph King of Hearts
May 02, 11:00 AM EDT
After Salvador Dali Lithograph King of Hearts
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OPPENHEIM, MERET: "Pelztasse".
May 02, 9:00 AM CEST
OPPENHEIM, MERET: "Pelztasse".
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Karl Bodmer - Indian Utensils And Arms. 48
Apr 27, 10:00 AM CDT
Karl Bodmer - Indian Utensils And Arms. 48
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Sellers Who Sell Still Life Prints


Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries

MDP Auction

MDP Auction

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures