Genre and Still Life Painting

William Sidney Mount (1807–1868)
Fruit Piece: Apples on Tin Cups, 1864
Oil on academy board, 6 1/2 x 9 1/16 in. (16.5 x 23.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.100

Object-William Sidney Mount, Fruit Piece: Apples on Tin Cups

Rejecting a European-based affinity for grand historical scenes, the New York artist William Sydney Mount painted subjects drawn from everyday life that often carried veiled political messages. Fruit Piece: Apples on Tin Cups, one of his very few still lifes, illustrates this approach. The apparent simplicity of the composition—two ripe apples, set on a pair of overturned cups— belies a complex symbolic discourse concerning the American Civil War (1861–65). The humble tin cup, part of a Union soldier’s equipment, represents the army, while the apple, a fruit so associated with America’s northern colonies that it became a national emblem, stands for the United States. By juxtaposing these objects, the artist suggests that Union forces literally support the country. Mount’s seemingly mundane subject delivers a compelling political message and addresses the larger theme of national identity and allegiance.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.


William Sidney Mount (1807–1868)
Fruit Piece: Apples on Tin Cups, 1864
Oil on academy board, 6 1/2 x 9 1/16 in. (16.5 x 23.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.100

Genre and Still Life Painting

Eastman Johnson (1824–1906)
Fiddling His Way, c. 1866
Oil on artist's board, 20 7/8 x 24 7/8 in. (53 x 63.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 1999.8
Lilly Martin Spencer (1822–1902)
The Home of the Red, White, and Blue, c. 1867–68
Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2007.1
William Sidney Mount (1807–1868)
Fruit Piece: Apples on Tin Cups, 1864
Oil on academy board, 6 1/2 x 9 1/16 in. (16.5 x 23.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.100
Winslow Homer (1836–1910)
Apple Picking, 1878
Watercolor and gouache on paper, laid down on board, 7 x 8 3/8 in. (17.8 x 21.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.7
William Sidney Mount (1807–1868)
The Trap Sprung, 1844
Oil on panel, 12 7/8 x 17 1/16 in. (32.7 x 43.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.52
Robert Spear Dunning (1829–1905)
Harvest of Cherries, 1866
Oil on canvas, 20 x 26 1/2 in. (50.8 x 67.3 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.48
Samuel Colman, Jr. (1832–1920)
Ships Unloading, New York, 1868
Oil on canvas mounted on board, 41 5/16 x 29 15/16 in. (105.0 x 76.0 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1984.4
John George Brown (1831–1913)
Picnic Party in the Woods, 1872
Oil on canvas, 24 5/16 x 44 in. (61.8 x 111.8 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.1
Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904)
Still Life with Apple Blossoms in a Nautilus Shell, 1870
Oil on canvas, 21 x 17 in. (53.3 x 43.2 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 1999.7
Thomas Waterman Wood (1783–1872)
The Yankee Pedlar, 1872
Oil on canvas, 28 x 40 in. (71.1 x 101.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 1998.3
George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879)
The Jolly Flatboatmen, 1877–78
Oil on canvas, 26 1/16 x 36 3/8 in. (66.2 x 92.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.15
John Haberle (1853–1933)
One Dollar Bill, 1890
Oil on canvas, 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2015.4
Winslow Homer (1836–1910)
The Whittling Boy, 1873
Oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 22 11/16 in. (40.0 x 57.6 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1994.12
John Frederick Peto (1854–1907)
Old Time Letter Rack, 1894
Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 25 1/4 in. (76.5 x 64.1 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2015.5