"An Abundance of Fruit" by Andrew John Henry Way

Andrew John Henry Way (1826–1888)
An Abundance of Fruit
c. 1875
Oil on canvas
22 x 30 inches
Museum purchase; 1989.08.288

Andrew John Henry Way's painting An Abundance of Fruit presents a carefully composed placement of highly detailed fruits and vegetable in a natural setting on the ground surrounded by leaves. The painting demonstrates why Way was one of the most popular still life artists in Baltimore, Maryland during the nineteenth century. He started his professional career as a portrait painter, but turned to still life painting when a well-known artist and colleague complimented him on his technique. Way became known as a specialist in painting grapes and oysters, so much in fact that some people called his still life images portraits of the objects he painted.

In An Abundance of Fruit, Way has portrayed the varying textures of plump, translucent grapes against a coarse cantaloupe along with soft peaches and shiny pears. The thick, yet delicate and horizontally placed collard leaf in the foreground opposes the strong vertical placement of the ceramic vase in the background. The flowers sculpted in relief on the vase further demonstrate Way's technical ability.