American Art Collector|June 2020
When Randall W. L. Mooers discovered “the quintessential bunch of grapes” at the market, he was reminded of a painting that has always inspired him-a still life of a hanging pheasant by the French painter Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779).
Mooers studied at the Art Students League and at the National Academy and developed an admiration for the 17 th -century Dutch masters, still life innovators such as Chardin, Cézanne and Morandi, and contemporary masters of hyperrealist still lifes.
Chardin was a modest painter who bucked the grandiose painting traditions of his time by painting simple genre scenes and still lifes of everyday objects. Denis Diderot (1713-1784), the French philosopher and art critic, wrote, “We stop in front of a Chardin as if by instinct, like a traveler weary of the road choosing, almost without realizing, a place that offers a grassy seat, silence, water and cool shade.”
A century later, Marcel Proust (1871-1922) wrote, “We have learned from Chardin that a pear is as living as a woman, that an ordinary piece of pottery is as beautiful as a precious stone.”
Mooers recalls, “I liked the natural shape of the bunch of grapes, and I always had in the back of mind the idea of hanging something in a still life as Chardin did.” He comments on the rhythm of Chardin’s painting, a quality that is prominent in his own paintings.
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