Diego Rivera 1886-1957
T00317 Nature Morte
(Still Life) 1916
Inscribed 'DR | ANNO 16' centre l.
Oil on plywood, 23 5/8 x 15 3/4 (60 x 40)
Purchased from the Obelisk Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1959
Prov: With Pierre Granville, Paris (purchased at an anonymous sale at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 1952); through Obelisk Gallery, London; Richard Dembeck, London; with Obelisk Gallery, London
Exh: Léger and Purist Paris, Tate Gallery, November 1970-January 1971 (123, repr.), wrongly dated 1917-18
One of Rivera's Cubist pictures painted while he was living in Paris. The inscription 'DR | ANNO 16' on the painted Charter Oak Milk label seems to be his way of signing and dating this work, which fits quite convincingly into his style of 1916 and clearly owes a good deal to such pictures as Juan Gris' 'The Cherries' of 1915. The objects include a flask, a wine-glass, a soda syphon and a tin or container of Charter Oak Milk on a table. There was originally another Cubist painting on the back of a man playing a clarinet; the two pictures were separated in 1958.
It is probably one of the works which first passed through the hands of Léonce Rosenberg of the Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, who had Rivera under contract for several years during his Cubist period. Léonce Rosenberg told Bertram D. Wolfe in 1936: 'Monsieur Rivera did about five major pictures a month for me, not counting sketches, pastels, watercolours, etc. He was always one of my most prolific painters' (cf. Wolfe, The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera, London 1963, p.86). It is not among the small number of works by Rivera in Léonce Rosenberg's photographic records.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.634-5, reproduced p.634