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Peter Freeman, Inc. is pleased to present for TEFAF New York Spring 2018 a thematic exhibition on the tradition of trompe l’oeil. French, German, Italian, and American works from the past four centuries will be on view, as well as contemporary works from this century that extend this important tradition while pushing the genre’s intellectual and playful possibilities. 

Among the eighteenth-century works on view is a 1736 watercolor by Italian artist Bartolomeo Sampellegrini da Piacenza (known to be court painter to Naples at the time, but his birth and death dates are not known), depicting engraved views of Ancient Roman ruins but referencing contemporary politics. Another early work we will show is by French artist Gaspard Gresly (1712-1756), a painting of an engraving after a seventeenth-century Dutch painting, secured to a panel of wood with wax seals. Representing two-dimensional objects in layers, and also painting fasteners—nails, hooks, or as here, wax seals, are classic devices of trompe l’oeil (a “deception of the eye”), devised to bring the entire work seemingly into the real space of the viewer. American painters such as John Haberle (1856-1933) and John F. Peto (1854-1907) later elaborated upon this (works by both are included in this presentation). They and their contemporaries made this, in fact, a particularly American genre in the nineteenth century, the legacy of which carried on through the twentieth century and can be felt most powerfully in American Pop Art: Things on a Wall, 1973, by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) for instance, a major painting that specifically references Peto, will be on view. While the tradition of trompe l’oeil technically belongs to painting, contemporary artists have carried the notion into sculpture: a group of four replicas of commercial cardboard boxes made from plywood by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), and a cast bronze cardboard wine box by Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963) are among the sculptural examples that we will feature. Also in that vein is a recreation of the game of Jack Straws, each tiny piece painstakingly carved from bone by Charles LeDray (b. 1960). 

For reproduction requests and general inquiries, please contact the gallery at +1 212 966 5154 or