Urgent Museum Notice

Still Life of Fish and Cat

Close up of Still Life of Fish and Cat

A brown ceramic colander holds several types of fish of varying sizes that lie stacked. In the foreground, a cat stands alert with its paws on a yellow fish. In front of the colander, a gleaming pewter dish holds shrimp and oyster shells. The surfaces all reflect and shine.

Clara Peeters, Still Life of Fish and Cat, after 1620; Oil on panel, 13 1/2 x 18 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay

Still Life of Fish and Cat
Clara Peeters

Clara Peeters’s considerable skill at rendering naturalistic texture and detail is on full display in Still Life of Fish and Cat. In this work, she realistically depicted household abundance, without the subtle moral or subtext often associated with still lifes.

The reddish ceramic colander holds several types of fish, including an eel. Its long, slender body forms a prominent loop that adds visual interest to the upper left of this still life. Peeters increased the illusion of space within the picture by including several reflections in the metal dish.

The varied textures of slippery fish scales, thickly glazed clay, cat’s fur, rough oyster shells, and a gleaming pewter dish enhance the sensory qualities of the painting. The cat, with its ears pointed back, stands alert to any potential interloper as it protects its fishy fortune.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Clara Peeters
  • Title

    Still Life of Fish and Cat
  • Date

    after 1620
  • Medium

    Oil on panel
  • Dimensions

    13 1/2 x 18 1/2 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
  • On Display

    Yes