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In an interview published in the September 15, 1926, edition of the New York Evening Post, Gorky praised modern art and named Paul Cezanne (1839–1906), Henri Matisse (1869–1954), and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) as "greater artists than the old masters."1 Of these, he continued, "Cézanne is the greatest artist, shall I say, that has lived."2 A number of Gorky's early paintings convey his intense study of Cezanne, including this still life.
According to the research of Jim M. Jordan, Cezanne's painting Le Pain et les oeufs, 1865 (Cincinnati Art Museum), likely served as the source for Gorky's composition.3
1. "Fetish of Antique Stifles Art Here, Says Gorky Kin," New York Evening Post (September 15, 1926): 17.
3. Jim M. Jordan, "The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: New Discoveries, New Sources, and Chronology," in The Paintings of Arshile Gorky: A Critical Catalogue, by Jim M. Jordan and Robert Goldwater (New York and London: New York University Press, 1982), 22, 24.