Still Life: Hunting Trophies, Red Fox Skin, c. 1890
Oil on panel
48 x 33 1/2 inches
Signed lower left
Alexander Pope was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a suburb outside of Boston. He spent his entire life in and around the city where he pursued his outdoor activities of hunting and fishing. His interest in animals and wildlife is reflected in the choice of subject matter found in the artist’s paintings.
Pope was one of several late nineteenth-century still life painters, including Jefferson David Chalfant, George W. Platt and Richard Labarre Goodwin, who were skilled in the art of trompe l’oeil. Of all these artists, Pope was the closest to William Michael Harnett in his use of rich, dark colors. In Still Life: Hunting Trophies, Red Fox Skin, c. 1890, Pope uses a variety of black, brown and gold pigments highlighted with white to depict the fox pelt and assorted hunting accessories including whips, horns and spurs. Pope occasionally painted his images directly onto a wood panel, leaving the actual grain of the wood background unpainted. The artist employed this technique in the present work and also in a painting titled The Oak Door (1887, 50 x 41 inches), in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.