Oil on canvas signed lower left
Dimensions: H. 46.5 x W. 94.3 cm
With frame: H. 65 x W. 112.5 cm
Franz Molitor belonged to the famous Düsseldorf School of Painting, a group of artists trained at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts in the 19th century. The Academy's first directors, Peter von Cornelius and Wilhelm von Schadow, steered the School towards the Nazarene movement, which prioritized historical, religious, idealistic and monumental painting. But under the influence of the Vormärz, the program of the academy and its artistic environment soon broadened towards Romantic currents, giving greater prominence to a realistic approach with landscape and genre painting. Still life thus played a decisive role in nineteenth-century bourgeois art.
In Düsseldorf, Molitor acquired a remarkable drawing technique from K. Sohn, P. Jansen and E. von Gebhardt. He is naturally best known in Germany, where he produced most of his work.
In this elongated painting, Molitor orchestrates a skilful, modern composition. Numerous pears, apples, quinces and grapes are spread out over a broad horizontal plane; the arrangement remains airy, however, thanks to the addition of plant elements and the bronze display stand. The delicacy of the drawing, the delicate treatment of the fruit's shiny material, the idyllic background and the marble entablature, partially covered with a fine, transparent cloth, plunge us into the atmosphere of Pre-Raphaelitism, born in England in 1848. This is a work from Molitor's youth, circa 1880/1890, a period when this movement had a great influence on the artist.