John F. Francis

(1808-1886)

John Francis was born in 1808 and initiated the revitalization of still life painting. He was largely a self-taught artist, producing some of America's most important still lifes. His visually intimate representations were delicately colored and painterly. Francis began to exhibit in Philadelphia in the 1840s and 50s as a portraitist, employing 17th century Dutch mannerisms. He also helped with the Artist' Fund Society's first exhibition. However, in 1858 he turned his attention to still lifes. Francis' favorite subject in the 1860s was of luncheon feasts, showing a table spread with desserts, fruit and silver. "Champagne Lunch and Tropical Fruit" was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at this time. The last 20 years of his life, Francis was consumed by painting Jeffersonville, PA. He is highly regarded by 20th century art historians but received little credit during his lifetime. He died in 1886.