Edwin Deakin (American (b. England), 1838–1923)
Flame Tokay Grapes, 1884
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 in. (76.2 x 50.8 cm)

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Another English-born artist who found some success in America was Edwin Deakin, who settled in California. He was best known for paintings of romantic landscapes and architectural subjects, especially the Spanish Missions of the West. A self-taught master of the still life as well, Deakin combines in this painting his fascination for the light effects on the translucent red grapes and the Gothic-style carved stone architectural arch that “frames” the fruit both formally and historically. In addition to its obvious visual appeal, the Flame Tokay table grape, a popular varietal in the late 19th century, was found most commonly in the warmer regions of California; so the painting may have been meant (or even have been commissioned) as a tribute to the artist’s adopted state.

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