Still Life with Peaches and Plums

Mary Jane Peale (1827-1902)

Philadelphia, 1810–20


Oil on canvas

Mary Jane Peale and her father, Rubens Peale, worked closely in the last years of Rubens’ life. There are many instances where the two copied one another’s works and even painted parts of each other’s paintings. Their close artistic relationship was fairly typical of the Peale family. In this still-life, it is thought that Mary Jane’s work is a copy of her father’s work, which was most likely a copy of a work by Margaretta Angelica Peale, who was Rubens’ cousin. Works like this from the Peale family are emblematic of their artistic and familial bonds.

For Further Thinking: Works by various Peale family members were often claimed by only one artist, despite having been a collaborative effort.

What do you think this says about their family and how they viewed artistry?

Would you agree to let a family member claim authorship of something if you had helped create it?