Maryland Still Life; Thomas Cromwell Corner, c.1895
Corner, Thomas Cromwell (1865-1938); Summer Harvest, c.1895; oil on canvas, signed upper right; in excellent overall condition, has undergone what was probably a later 20th Century campaign of conservation including in-painting to several small background flake losses on a re-lined canvas over original stretchers; fine craqueleur throughout, especially on the table top; a Damar varnish was replaced in 2018; the contemporary gilt over composition and wood frame is probably original; dimensions: 18″ x 26″
Thomas Corner was Maryland’s preeminent portraitist in the early 20th Century. Examples of his work are in the collections of the Walters Art Museum, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, of which he was a founder. Landscapes and still lifes by Corner, of which this certainly ranks among the finest, are rare. He studied under George Breavitt Way at the Maryland Institute and later at the Arts Students League in New York and L’Acadêmie Jullian. In all likelihood painted after Corner’s return from Paris in 1892, and before his portraiture career took off after 1900, “Summer Harvest” shows the influence of later 19th Century America’s penchant for the “harvested fruit” still life as seen in the work of contemporaries such as Levi Wells Prentice, Austin Wooster, and August Laux. A companion painting by Corner, almost certainly painted near the same time, was in the famous Haussner Collection of Baltimore (see below).