Carducius Plantagenet Ream (1837-1917), Still Life of Apples, Oil on canvas, Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches, actual; 26 x 30 inches, framed in an exceptional period gilt frame, Signed lower right.
Named after historical British families, Carducius Plantagenet Ream grew up in Lancaster, Ohio. He studied in Paris, London, and Munich. After living and exhibiting briefly in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and New York during the 1870s, Ream settled in Chicago, where he was the city’s finest still-life painter. Occasional portraits and genre subjects also make up his oeuvre. His popular still lifes were reproduced as chromolithographs and widely distributed by Louis Prang & Co. Carducius Ream probably inspired his younger brother Morston Constantine Ream, who was based in New York, to take up still-life painting as well.
Carducius Ream’s still lifes often depict fruit tastefully arranged on a tabletop, and he also participated in the Pre-Raphaelite trend of presenting fruit in its natural setting, either hanging from the vine or spread out on green grass. Ream focused on the texture of fruit; as William H. Gerdts writes, “the velvety nature of the fruit, so sensuously painted, is…typical of the artist’s highly engaging and individual approach to color, texture, and paint quality.” Ream also used soft and often indirect light in a way conducive to close and extended looking.
Ream exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1872 to 1883, Royal Academy, London, in 1892 and 1898, and the Art Institute of Chicago from 1894 to 1917. He was a member of the Chicago Academy of Design and of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he had a one-man exhibition in 1909. His works can be found at the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut; Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; Art Institute of Chicago, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
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