Emilie Preyer

Emelie Preyer, still life of fruit
Liker her father, Johann Wilhelm Preyer, Emilie Preyer was a noted 19th century German still life artist who devoted much of her career to painting carefully composed arrangements of fruits.

While Preyer senior was an excellent painter, I think Emilie outdid him with her more visceral portrayal of texture and sensitivity to the subtle effects of light.

Emilie Preyer’s work sometimes reminds me of the beautiful way that Henri Fantin-Latour handled fruit in many of his paintings.

Preyer’s compositions frequently contrast dark fruits like plums and black grapes with lighter and more brightly colored ones like peaches and apricots — arranged against dark and sometimes gradated backgrounds to dramatic compositional effect.

Like her father, who I assume was her primary teacher, she often incorporated leaves, nuts, and sometimes glassware into her paintings, as well as a fairly ubiquitous fly on the table — a popular practice of still life painters of the time to add to the sense of realism and detail.

Preyer’s skill at composition leads your eye inexorably around her paintings, her finesse at portraying the tactile surfaces of her subjects inviting you to linger along the way.

 
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