Thomas Hill (American, 1829–1908)
Still Life with Ducks and Vegetables, ca. 1882
Oil on canvas
26 ⅝ x 32 ⅞ in. (67.6 x 83.5 cm)


Immigrating to the East Coast of the United States with his family, while still quite young, British-born Thomas Hill soon found himself drawn West, eventually settling in San Francisco, where he made the grandeur of Yosemite and other local sites the subject of many of his paintings. In Still Life with Ducks and Vegetables, Hill proudly presents his technical skills in a tour-de-force still life piled high in a feast for the senses, a celebration of spring’s rich abundance of colors and tastes. It is a trophy painting, in both the effort of the painter and the affluence of the patron’s table depicted here. While the virtuosity of Hill’s painting evokes 17th-century Dutch still life tradition, there is also a sense of hearty and diverse American foodstuffs: asparagus, cabbage, radishes, carrots, lettuces, and onions.

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