On a table covered with a red cloth are a slender glass of sparkling wine, a silver salver bearing oysters, a slice of lemon, a bunch of purple grapes still attached to a sprig of vine, and several almonds. Preyer specialized in wonderfully detailed still lifes, such as this one, and looked back to Dutch Old Master paintings, drawing on their unique compositional elements and range of rich and cool colors. He even employed similar “vanitas” motifs, such as the housefly perched on the stem of the vine, and the inclusion of bubbles: ephemeral symbols of life’s transience. Preyer’s paintings were particularly popular with collectors in the United States. William T. Walters purchased this painting for his growing collection of European art around the middle of the 19th century.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, GNU FPL-1.3.