Samuel van Hoogstraten – Letter Board (1666 – 1678)

Letter Board or Letter Rack with Medal and Own Plays is one such trompe-l’oeil still life, completed between 1666 and 1678. The various objects are seemingly strapped to the board with red leather bands and many of them appear in other paintings as well. For starters, we have the gold medal with the effigy of Emperor Ferdinand III and the chain received as a gift, here adorned with a bow.

David Burliuk – Cyclamens (1954)

I often find myself underwhelmed by still life. I can understand its function – particularly for budding artists – as a test lab for experimenting with multiple perspectives or different applications of colors, of measuring angles, playing with negative spaces and looking for rapports between different objects. Emotionally, however, I am often completely detached when…

André Masson – Pedestal Table in the Studio (1922)

When the French artist and writer André Masson (1896 – 1987) met the Catalan painter Joan Miró, the two of them bonded over their love for the limitless visual potential of poetry. In a letter written in 1972, Masson recalled: “It was obvious that for Miró as for myself, poetry (in the broadest sense of…

Andrew Wyeth – Frostbitten (1962)

Overshadowed by postwar abstractionists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, lacking the attention-grabbing presence of Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009) remains, in spite of all that, one of the most popular American artists. At just 31, his painting Christina’s World brought him fame and recognition, after being purchased by the Museum of Modern…