If we can agree that an artist whose work is in the Louvre is an important artist, then the French painter Alexis J. Kreyder (1839-1912), renowned for his still lifes of flowers and fruits, was an important artist. At the age of 20, he moved to Paris, where, one source tells us, he “worked for 2 or 3 years for industry.” By 1863 he was working with Theodore Rousseau in Barbizon, helping with decorative work commissioned by Prince Demidoff, an art patron and son of the Russian ambassador to France.
Alexis Kreyder participated in his first Paris Salon in 1863 and exhibited there for the next three decades. He received medals of excellence in 1869, a 2nd class medal in 1884 and a silver medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1889. When the Official Salon split in 1890, he left the Society of French Artists to join the National Society of Fine Arts. Kreyder is well listed in Mssr. Benezit’s “Dictionnaire des Artistes...” In 1896 he was made a Chevalier (Knight) in the Legion of Honor, an honor originally created by Napoleon and given in recognition of at least 25 years of professional activity with “eminent merits.” Besides the Louvre, his works can be found in several French museums, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art. One of his paintings sold for over $50,000 at auction.
Dutch masters of the 16th and 17th centuries were well aware of the value of painting fruit and flowers as serious subject matters for their private patrons as well as for public display. Kreyder apparently shared this value. The subject of his painting in the Louvre is plums.
In this fabulous oil painting, Kreyder applied his creativity in the way his composition, the basket of plums, is irresistibly painted. The woven wicker basket gives the painting its romantic touch, helping with the overall charming presentation. The colors are deep, rich and dark, as befitting the nature of the plums and the style of the time. The artist made excellent us of light to depict individual plums.
Kreyder chose to place the basket in a dark background, reminiscent of the early Dutch painters. The scattered plums on the grass-laden ground add not only the composition but the overall dramatic presence of the painting.
It is signed, A. Kreyder, on the lower left. On the back is a stamp of the French canvas manufacturer.
The painting is housed in a gilded wood frame that suits it well.
It is in excellent condition for its age. Three small old patches on back of the canvas shows that it has been previously restored. It is ready to hang.
This fine antique painting is a great example of a well-known and important French artist. It would be impressive in any room.
It measures about 39-½ inches wide by 32 inches high, including the frame.
Still Life of Plums in a Basket by Alexis Kreyder
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