The European Art Sale Part I

The European Art Sale Part I

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 232. Frances with the Apple.

Paul Peel

Frances with the Apple

Auction Closed

January 27, 10:47 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private Canadian Collection

Paul Peel


1860 - 1892

Frances with the Apple

signed, inscribed and dated Paul Peel / Paris 1888 (lower left)

oil on canvas

canvas: 32½ by 21 in.; 82.5 by 53.3 cm

framed: 43⅜ by 33 ¼ in.; 110.1 by 84.4 cm

Private collection, Montreal
Samuel W. Abbott, London, Ontario
Dr. Frank Abbott, Toronto, Ontario
with Galerie Bernard Desroches, Montreal
Acquired from the above by the parents of the present owner (October 11, 1988)
Thence by descent

Following in the footsteps of an earlier generation of Canadian and American artists, Paul Peel went to France to hone in his artistic skills under the tutelage of the French masters. The son of a stone-carver, Peel grew up in an artistic milieu and was encouraged to take up painting from an early age. His studies under Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art were concluded with great success and led him to Paris where he spent a dozen years perfecting his craft. 

While not officially enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, Peel studied in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme, probably at the intercession of Eakins, a former student of Gérôme, and soon after exhibited his first painting at the Salon of 1883. During this time, he continued to further his reputation in Canada by sending his father several canvases that were exhibited to great acclaim at the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts exhibit held in Halifax, and the Industrial Exhibition, Toronto. 

He spent the spring and summer of 1881 at Pont-Aven, Brittany, a village especially favored by American and French artists for its picturesque setting and the traditional life-style of its inhabitants. Frances with the Apple depicts such a local girl, wearing a Breton bonnet, holding an apple in her right hand and a basket on her lap. The exquisite modelling of the figure against the dark background betrays an astute grasp of the academic technique he was steeped in under the influence of Gérôme and later Benjamin Constant. 

Peel achieved considerable fame in his short life, both in Europe and Canada. He exhibited extensively in both countries and became one of Canada's best-known artists in Europe. His technical virtuosity, especially in the depiction of the human body, his adherence to the conservative and academic tenets, and his fascination with domestic scenes of women and children perfectly reflect 19th-century European bourgeois values and the artistic concerns of most of his generation.