L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, September 18, 2020

Red fruit - selected paintings by Joseph Decker, circa 1880-1900


Joseph Decker (1853, Nuremberg - 1 April 1924, Brooklyn), German-born American painter who specialized in still-lifes. His father was a carpenter. At the age of fourteen, in 1867, he and his family emigrated to the United States. He was first apprenticed to a house painter in Brooklyn, then worked painting signs. By the mid-1870s, though, with aspirations to become a serious artist, he began taking evening drawing classes at the National Academy of Design. In a few years, he was exhibiting portraits and landscapes at the Brooklyn Art Association. He was able to save enough money to travel to Munich in 1879, where he spent a year studying with the history painter, Wilhelm Lindenschmit. Upon returning to this country, he exhibited at the National Academy, the Brooklyn Art Association, the Society of American Artists, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He established a studio in Manhattan in the mid-1880s. In 1889 he exhibited at the International Industrial Fair in Buffalo. He painted a wide variety of subjects, but his primary concern in those years was still-life painting; his still-life subjects were most often edibles such as fruits and nuts, rather than man-made objects. In the following decade he returned to Brooklyn, stopped exhibiting his work, and showed an increased interest in landscapes. Later he worked for the well-known art collector - and his primary patron - Thomas B. Clarke, restoring Chinese porcelains. He had a wife and five children, but spent long periods in Germany by himself, and was reported to have been an inattentive husband and father. His last years are mostly undocumented and he died in the charity ward of a Brooklyn hospital in 1924 at the age of seventy or seventy-one. His work was virtually forgotten until its rediscovery by art historian Alfred Frankenstein in 1949, and not widely known until the 1960s.


  1. Oh my, exquisite. That first painting especially. I always liked the idea in visual arts of taking one subject and exploring it - freeing you to not have to think about what to paint, but rather how to paint it and how to see it.