Description: Articles Hung on a Door

In this still-life composition, John Frederick Peto offers up a variety of household goods in somber tones.  Some of the items-- a canteen, a bugle, a pistol, a powder horn-- suggest the Civil War, already a few decades past at the time the painting was made.  Also visible are more ambiguous objects: a blue book, an artist’s palette, a picture tacked to the wall.  Peto’s father did serve in the Civil War, and it is possible that some of these relics were his; the palette and small picture seem to reflect the younger Peto’s direction in life.  The objects all show wear or damage; even the door on which the items hang has been patched and still has a broken hinge.  Many of these specific props recur in other of the artist’s works.  Unlike showier still-life paintings which offer a careful display of gleaming housewares or tempting food, Peto’s weathered subjects hung carelessly from a nail seem to tell a story of a life gone by.

  • Artist: John Frederick Peto (American, 1854 – 1907)
  • Creation date: after 1890
  • Credit line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund, 65.3