In this rare, signed work, the artist supplants the formal for the informal. Instead of a highly polished tabletop produced by man, the fruit is presented in a natural setting, on a table of grass, moss, and soil.
The subject is not idealized; the apples appear as they would in nature, with blemishes intact, and fading leaves bear evidence of autumn’s kiss and insect’s bite. The still life genre often represented the bounty and material pleasures of life, but so, too, can it be viewed as an indication of the reality of life’s fleeting nature – all things must wither and die.
The painting is housed in its original frame that, interestingly, bears the pencil inscription “Bryant Chapin April 9th” on the reverse, perhaps indicating some relationship between Strobridge and the Fall River School artist Bryant Chapin (1859-1927).
Two related versions of this painting exist, both with family provenance.