John Frederick Peto Biography | Oil Paintings
5-21-1854 Philadelphia, USA - 11-23-1907 Island Heights, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
John Frederick Peto studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at the same time as William Harnett. Until he was in his mid-thirties, John F. Peto submitted paintings consistently to the yearly shows at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts. But in 1889, he moved from Philadelphia to the resort town of Island Heights, New Jersey, working and painting in obscurity for the rest of his life, supplementing his income by selling his oil paintings to tourists, and never having a gallery exhibition in his lifetime.
In spite of the fact that John Frederick Peto and the six-year older William Michael Harnett, knew each other and painted similar subjects, their careers followed different paths. Harnett achieved success and had considerable influence on other artists.
Both artists were masters of trompe l'oeil, "fool the eye", a genre of still life that aims to deceive the viewer into mistaking painted objects for reality by arranging the objects in a shallow space, using the shadow of the objects to fool the eye into perceiving depth.
John F. Peto's compositions are more abstract, use more unusual color, and often have a stronger emotional resonance. Peto's mature works have an opaque and powdery texture which is often compared to Chardin.
Many of Peto's paintings reinterpret themes Harnett had painted earlier, but Peto's compositions are less formal and his objects are typically older looking and more worn. By the end of the nineteenth century, John F. Peto’s paintings were often forged with Harnett’s signature to sell for more money, since Peto’s artwork received little recognition at the time, while Harnett was well known, and his work. Peto's house in Island Heights is now the John F. Peto Studio Museum and features reproductions of his paintings.
Artists Influencing John F. Peto: William Michael Harnett.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.