This painting of Still Life with Coffeepot made in 1905 is the most expensive work ever sold by the Scottish painter Samuel People (1871 – 1935), as a few years ago it fetched close to a million pounds sterling at auction.
A more than respectable amount, and even more so for an artist not widely known outside of his native Scotland and the British Isles. A creator who is a good example of the expansion that post-impressionist painting had throughout any corner of Europe.
Still life with a coffee pot by Peploe
In fact, in Scotland several painters highly influenced by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists coincided at the same time. That group was formed by Peploe himself and his contemporariesJohn Duncan Fergusson,Francis CadellandLeslie Hunter. All of them together formed the group called the colorists. And obviously their painting is characterized by its powerful colors, absolute dominators of the canvas on which they have barely drawn.
In the case of Samuel John Peploe we are talking about a painter who originally received an academic training at the Royal Scottish Academy, but at the end of the 19th century he went toParis where he saw the latest art of the time. Just as he also traveled through the Netherlands where he immersed himself in the work of the great artists of that country such asRembrandt or Hals.
Actually, Peploe traveled a lot throughout his life, among other things because he was passionate about painting landscapes. This is why he not only moved around France, since he also traveled to many places in his country, especially theHebrides Islands, in search of new places and especially new lights. Some experimental and inspiring trips that he used to make in the company of some other of the painters of thegroup of colorists.
Landscapes make up a large part of his artistic legacy, but also still lifes like the one we see here. In one genre as well as in another, he appears to us as a perfect master of color combinations. That yes, he never uses a palette with too many colors, they are few but very powerful as we can see in Still Life with a coffee pot.
That mastery of color and the use of simple compositions based on clean lines that favor the reading of the painting is what summarizes the characteristics of Peploe's art. To which we must add what I learned from the paintings of Edouard Manet and above all Paul Cezanne, author of the famous still lifes of post-impressionist art such as The Chest of Drawers or Still Life with Oranges and Apples.