Juicy Fruit

Francisco Oller - Higueras ca 1912

Franciso Oller (1833-1917) painted fruit like no one before him. The tone, composition or even the subjects of his still lives were nothing like the the bodegones of his time. No delicacy, no austerity, no pantry items, sometimes not even a slab, in fact to the Europeans buying the paintings very little was recognizable.


By Jorge Cuartas

Francisco Oller - Still life with Coconut Puerto Rico about 1893

Oller used his whole canvas to showcase local, exotic fruit to the maximum. His coconuts look like enormous, dangerous nuts; his soursops and pineapples look like they are alive and almost ready to pop off the canvas. There may have been nothing recognizable in the painting, but they sure captured the buyer’s fancies.

Francisco Oller - Bodegon Guanabanas

Francisco Oller - Pineapples ca 1912-1914

The importance of Fancisco Oller’s still lives are twofold. First of all it shows us how buyers of paintings at the end of the Spanish era viewed the Americas: it was still an exotic and unknown territory. But more important is that with his fruit impressions Oller captured the reality of Puerto Rican life and its tropical aspects. His realism set the standard for many painters who soon followed his style.

Francisco Oller - Plátanos Amarillos 1892-93 nr 2

Paintings used in this article:

  1. ‘Higueras’ (ca 1912), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
  2. Naturaleza Muerta con Cocos‘ (ca 1893, Francisco Oller, oil on canvas.
  3. ‘Bodegón con Guanábanas’ (ca 1891), Francisco Oller, oil on linen
  4. ‘Bodegón con Piñas’ (ca 1912-1914), Francisco Oller.
  5. ‘Plátanos Amarillos’ (ca 1893), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
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