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PETO

(John Peto, 1854-1907)

Peto, John Frederick - American painter. He specialized in still life. Peto was born in Philadelphia, son of a dealer in picture frames. In 1877 he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and exhibited at the Academy and the St. Louis Exposition (1881). After his marriage in 1887, he built a new home at the coastal resort of Island Heights, New Jersey, and became a professional cornet player. He sold paintings to local shopkeepers and summer visitors to the town, but never exhibited anywhere beyond the local drugstore. His work was virtually unknown until rediscovered by the critic Alfred Frankenstein in 1947.

Peto was a friend of William Harnett, and his still lifes are superficially similar to Harnett's representations of a patron's noticeboard or desktop. However, the brushwork is softer and more fluid, the light more diffuse, and the selected objects tend to be worn or broken. Depicting old letters, fading photographs and torn business cards pinned to a splintering shelf with the paint curling off the wall behind them, Peto's paintings treat the discarded junk of modern life with a hauntingly elegiac quality.

- From The Bulfinch Guide to Art History

 

 PETO_peto_track_dtl

Peto, John For the Track Detail 1895 Oil on canvas 110 x 75.9 cm (43 1/2 x 29 7/8 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington

 PETO_peto_track

Peto, John For the Track 1895 Oil on canvas 110 x 75.9 cm (43 1/2 x 29 7/8 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington

 PETO_peto_store

Peto, John The Poor Man's Store 1885 Oil on canvas 90.4 x 64.8 cm (36 x 25 1/2 in.) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 PETO_peto_rack

Peto, John Rack Picture for William Malcolm Bunn 1882 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 in. National Museum of American Art, Washington

 PETO_OFFICE_BOARD

Peto, John Office Board for the Smith Bros. Coal Co. 1879 Oil on canvas 28 x 24 in. (71.1 x 61.1 cm) Addison Gallery of American office_board, Andover, Massachusetts