Peto (John F.) Studio - Interior, Island Heights



John F. Peto
The house and studio of the painter John F. Peto are located on Cedar Avenue in Island Heights, New Jersey. The house, a Queen Anne-style building, was used for many years as a Bed and Breakfast.

According to one source, the building “included a large studio at the rear of the house. There Peto surrounded himself with simple, utilitarian objects that were models for some of his greatest paintings. . . . Today those same objects - the rusted horseshoe, musical instruments, lard oil lamp, umbrella, delicate china pitcher with matching cup and saucer, along with mugs and pipes - all adorn the walls and rafters of the Peto Studio so lovingly maintained by his granddaughter. . .”(1) Three of the palettes Peto used for mixing oil paint still hang on one wall of his studio


Interior of John F. Peto's Studio, Island Heights. Photograph courtesy Peto Family.
 

Interior of John F. Peto's Studio, Island Heights. Photograph courtesy Peto Family.
 

Three of Peto's palettes hanging on the wall of his studio in Island Heights. Photograph courtesy Peto Family.

Links:
http://www.islandhts.org/the_studio.htm

 

THE STUDIO:

Island Heights

Historical   Site

                                     

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 The Studio 

    Ocean County's John Frederick Peto, the renowned, late 19th century still-life artist is often called the American Rembrandt.  

    Peto built his Queen Anne style house and studio at 102 Cedar St. in Island Heights in 1890.  The 2 1/2 story house, with its hipped roof, dormers, tower and gables, was home for his family.  The building also included a large studio at the rear of the house.  There Peto surrounded himself with simple, utilitarian objects that were models for some of his greatest paintings.  

    Today those same objects - the rusted horseshoe, musical instruments, lard oil lamp, umbrella, delicate china pitcher with matching cup and saucer, along with mugs and pipes - all adorn the walls and rafters of the Peto Studio so lovingly maintained by his granddaughter, Joy Smiley.  

    John Peto attended art school in Philadelphia in the mid 1880's.  He needed to supplement his income, so he came to Island Heights after 1887 to play his coronet at the Camp Meetings, held at the meeting place Philadelphia department store magnate John Wanamaker created for his employees to spend vacations.  Wanamaker Hall still stands in Island Heights, near the Municipal complex.  

    Island Heights was drawing big crowds of Philadelphians on the Long Branch and Philadelphia Railroad, which came to the new resort.  A railroad spur, which crossed the river from Pine Beach, dropped off passengers on the north side of the river.  After discharging its passengers, the train backed up across the river to the south shore,. 

     With his artistic eye, Peto found the quiet scenic Island Heights an ideal place in which to create his art.  He spent the rest of his life in Island Heights, painting still life canvas after canvas.  

    During his life and throughout the first half of this century Peto was relatively unknown in the art world.  For years his work was labeled as an imitation of the paintings of William Michael Harnett, a noted Victorian still life artist who was a fellow art student of Peto's in Philadelphia who forged his name on Peto's work.  

    Peto was one of the masters of "rack" paintings, which juxtaposed unrelated simple objects, such as postcards, torn theater or railroad tickets, portraits and tattered newspaper clippings.  These commonplace  and discarded motifs became the trademark of the American trompe de l'oeil school of painting during the period between 1870 and 1900.  

    The National Gallery in Washington, DC, in its 1983 series of exhibitions devoted to significant American artists, presented a one-man show of the works of John F. Peto. The exhibition entitled, "Important Information Inside: The Still Life Paintings of John F. Peto," ran for five months in the National Gallery,  the first comprehensive show in nearly 30 years honoring this late 19th century still-life artist .  

    Island Heights became a mecca for artists.  Its' bluffs, the boats on the river, the stately Victorian homes, the yacht club and the small  camp meeting houses have provided artists with countless subjects to splash onto a canvas.  

    "The Studio, " Peto's gallery and museum, is open to the public by appointment only, through Joy Smiley.  There is a donation requested.  Joy Smiley also accommodates guests for bed and breakfast. 

Written by Pauline S. Miller,  May 1, 2000, reprinted with her permission.

Questions? E-mail Alex about John Frederic Peto
 

Below are hyperlinks to great examples by the artist:

Peto, John
Afternoon Sailing  John Frederick Peto circa 1890-1899
A Student's Desk  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Be Right Back  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Board with Lincoln Photograph  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Book, Mug, Pipe and Match  John Frederick Peto circa 1880
Books, Mug, Pipe and Violin  John Frederick Peto circa 1880-1884
Carpetbag, Hat and Umbrella  John Frederick Peto circa 1890
Fish House Door with Eel Basket  John Frederick Peto circa 1890-1899
Fruit, Vase and Statuette  John Frederick Peto 1876
Hanging Knife and Jack of Hearts  John Frederick Peto 1903
Job Lot Cheap  John Frederick Peto circa 1901-1907
Lantern, Books and Corncob Pipe  John Frederick Peto circa 1891-1899
Lincoln and the Pfleger Stretcher  John Frederick Peto 1898
Lincoln and the Star of David  John Frederick Peto 1904
More Old Companions  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Mug, Pipe and Biscuits  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Mug, Pipe and Book in Window Ledge  John Frederick Peto Not listed
My Pipe and Mug  John Frederick Peto 1894
Old Companions  John Frederick Peto 1904
Old Time Letter Rack  John Frederick Peto 1894
Oranges  John Frederick Peto circa 1892
Patch Painting  John Frederick Peto 1886
Portrait of Lincoln  John Frederick Peto 1899
Rack Picture  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Rack Picture with Telegraph, Letter and Postcards  John Frederick Peto 1880
Souvenirs  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life  John Frederick Peto 1894
Still Life: Book and Mug  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Book, Lamp, Pipe and Match  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Books and Inkwell  John Frederick Peto 1899
Still LIfe with Books and Inkwell  John Frederick Peto 1899
Still Life with Books and Mug  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Candle, Pipe and Books  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Candlestick and Book  John Frederick Peto circa 1890
Still Life with Candlestick, Pipe and Book  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Inkwell, Quill and Books  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Lamp, Pipe, Matches, Book and Mug  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Lanterns  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Mug  John Frederick Peto 1899
Still Life with Mug and Pipe  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Mug, Pipe and Boods  John Frederick Peto 1898
Still Life with Mug, Pipe and Book  John Frederick Peto circa 1870-1879
Still Life with Mug, Pipe and Oyster Crackers  John Frederick Peto circa 1880-1890
Still Life with Notebook and Pipe  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Pipe and Book  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Pipe and Mug  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Pipe, Beer Stein, Newspaper, Book and Matches  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Pipe, Oil Lamp and Book  John Frederick Peto Not listed
Still Life with Pitcher, Candlestock, Books and Match  John Frederick Peto Not listed
The Cup We All Race 4  John Frederick Peto circa 1900
The Great Orator  John Frederick Peto 1904
The Green Envelope  John Frederick Peto Not listed
The Old Closet Door - Rack and Horseshoe with Dutch Jat  John Frederick Peto circa 1900
The Writer's Table: A Precarious Moment  John Frederick Peto 1892
Tom's River  John Frederick Peto 1905
Violin  John Frederick Peto circa 1891-1894
Violin, Fan and Books  John Frederick Peto 1880
Wine and Brass Stewing Kettle (aka Preparation of French Potage)  John Frederick Peto circa 1890-1899

Questions? E-mail Alex about John Frederic Peto

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