Arthur Carles painted Basket of Fruit and Flowers around the year 1925. He used color expressively, removing formal details so that unadulterated color could create near-abstract effects. He emphasized that color was not merely a filler, but a key part of the organization of a composition. “If there’s one thing in all the world I believe, it’s painting with color,” Carles said. “So few people paint with color, and what on earth else is painting for?”
In the 1920s and 1930s Carles used his expressive palette to create sumptuous floral still lifes. In these compositions, such as Basket of Fruit and Flowers, he focused more on color and form. He maximized the visual sensation by using an intense palette and juxtaposing complementary colors in a manner resembling the Fauves, namely Henri Matisse and André Derain. This expressive still life plays down the distinction between foreground and background, verging on abstraction.
Because Carles had a deep mistrust of New York galleries and resisted exhibiting his work there, he unfortunately was not widely recognized during his lifetime. Duncan Phillips purchased this painting in 1959, after seeing the painting at an exhibition at Graham Gallery, seven years after Carles’s death.