[Still Life]; [Apples]
For Christmas 1907, Sharp’s Billings patron Charles Bair sent Henry and Addie a box of apples. This fruit was a welcome addition to the Sharp family larder and, in gratitude, Sharp painted two canvases incorporating those apples as a motif. These were offered to Bair for him to choose one for his collection as a return gift. Bair ended up acquiring both and paying for the one he would not keep. That version, titled Still Life with Box of Delicious Apples, pictured the fruit in the wooden box in which they had arrived at Sharp’s doorstep. That oil was then given by Bair to his other favorite friend and associate from Crow Agency, the reservation’s agent Samuel G. Reynolds. (related image 314 a)
Sharp produced still lifes only rarely at this point in his career. These two works, nonetheless, reveal an innate skill with the genre. The apples are lusciously painted, the forms are boldly presented with an aura of sensate delectation, and the palette is dark and rich, all disclosing lessons he had mastered at the Munich Academy in his student days. Sharp had recently acquired the handsome blue Van Briggle pot that contains the holly sprigs. That pot also ended up in the Reynolds family's possession.
Peter H. Hassrick
LR: J.H.SHARP. 08
The artist; Charles Bair, Billings, MT, 1908; Bair family by descent; present owner