Levi wells Prentice, American,born 1851, Harrisburgh, New York-1935, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This large oil on canvas is a beautiful example of his semi primitive landscapes. It is 24"h by 36"w and is in the original frame. It is signed and in good condition, has been restored and lined. He lived and was active in New York and Connecticut A self-taught artist Levi Wells Prentice is best known for his realistic still-life compositions of fruit arranged within a landscape, or abundantly spilling from bushel baskets. Early in his career, he painted portraits and landscapes of the Adirondack Mountain region of Lewis County, New York, where Prentice was born in 1851.
Prentice later turned to painting still-life subjects when he moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1883. He was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association and frequently exhibited his paintings there. In addition to his artistic talents, Prentice also designed his own frames and made his own brushes and palettes.
Prentice's fruit still lifes are compositions are intended to create dramatic contrasts. The shift between dark background areas and the vibrant hues of the fruit are done to give the compositions an exciting, visual energy. The fruit is presented with clarity and precision. An emphasis is placed on the idea of man vs. nature. The wooden baskets with hand wrought nails represents a structured, man-made object, while the overly ripe fruit represents the fleeting qualities of nature.
These paintings also demonstrate Prentice’s remarkable skills at rendering color, form, and texture. Noted art historian, William H. Gerdts observed: “there are several works by Prentice in which he achieves a quality of illusionism which is unsurpassed.” (1)
In 1993, the skillful 'illusionism' of Levi Wells Prentice was celebrated in a retrospective exhibition at the Adirondack Museum in New York. His works continue to receive a high degree of appreciation by collectors today. His works are represented in many museums including the New York State Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Montclair Art Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery.
His paintings sell for up to $150,000.