Raphaelle Peale Biography | Oil Paintings

2-17-1774 Annapolis, Maryland USA – 3-4-1825 Philadelphia, PA USA

Peale, Raphaelle

Raphaelle Peale was taught oil painting by his father, the artist Charles Wilson Peale. In 1793, at the age of nineteen, Raphaelle sailed to South America to collect specimens for the Peale Museum founded by his father.

Raphaelle Peale first exhibition was in 1794 upon his return to America. In 1797, with his brother Rembrandt, he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to open another natural history museum, but the plan fell through, and Raphael returned home to paint miniatures.

For two years beginning in 1803, Raphaelle Peale toured Virginia with the "physiognotrace", a profile-making machine, with which he was briefly successful. By 1806, the taxidermist work he was doing in his father's museum caused him to suffer symptoms of arsenic and mercury poisoning. In 1809 at age thirty-five, he was hospitalized with delirium, and for the rest of his life, he suffered debilitating attacks almost yearly, which his father ascribed to "gout of the stomach" caused by consumption of pickles and excessive drinking. Yet, from 1810 onward, Peale concentrated on still-life painting almost exclusively, becoming America's first professional still-life painter. Most artists at the time considered still life a subject worthy only of amateurs, but he persisted and he exhibited frequently at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and elsewhere, especially from 1814–18, even though by 1813, he was unable to walk without crutches.

His style may have been influenced by Spanish still life paintings he saw on his trip to Mexico and by the two works by Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1816. Most of Raphaelle Peale's paintings for which he is best known are small in scale and depict a few objects, usually foodstuffs, on a tabletop against a dark background. A notable exception is his trompe l'oeil, Venus Rising from the Sea, A Deception also known as After the Bath.

After reportedly indulging in a night of heavy drinking, his health was destroyed, and he died at his home in Philadelphia at age fifty-one. He had four brothers who all became artists, two of them named Titian and Rembrandt.

Artists Influencing Raphaelle Peale: Charles Willson Peale.
He Traveled To Mexico, Brazil.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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