Demuth began painting still life arrangements around 1915, and spreads of fruit, vegetables, and flowers remained a compelling subject for him throughout his career. Here, an end-of-summer harvest of peaches and ears of corn, complete with husks and silks, is presented apparently casually, the forms first outlined in pencil and then completed with passages of watercolor. Our focus is drawn to the precise details of these natural forms, and to the play of light off their surfaces—the work provides no sense of background or context. Demuth’s works on paper were widely collected by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, one of the founders of The Museum of Modern Art, and she ultimately gave many of them to MoMA.
Gallery label from American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe, August 17, 2013–January 26, 2014 .