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Fine Art, Still Life Studies, Richard A. de Menocal, Vintage Watercolors, 20th Century

Richard A. de Menocal (1919-95)
Still Life Studies
American: 2nd Half 20th Century
Watercolor, gouache and/or acrylic on paper
Variously signed and artist stamped
Sizes vary
Still Life with Broken Ceramics and Glass, $900
Landscape, $275
All Others Sold

Selection of still life paintings — and one landscape — in watercolor. While painted in a traditional realist style, the subject matter frequently diverges from typical still life fare: a red cabbage bisected by a knife, a shallow bowl filled with unidentifiable white fragments and flanked by two broken glasses, a house of cards. One of them bears the name Iolas Gallery on the back, presumably referring to art dealer Alexander Iolas (d. 1987), who was known for exhibiting the work of surrealist artists. Three of the artist’s still-life works in oil, done in the 1970s and 1980s, are in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, both gifts of the Sara Roby Foundation. The works on paper shown here generally take a looser, less stylized approach than those oils.

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The Smithsonian Institution has the following online biography of the artist from the catalog of the Sara Roby Foundation collection:

De Menocal graduated from the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. During his early career he drew illustrations for Condé Nast publications, organized displays for the Lord and Taylor department store in New York City, and created costume designs for Radio City Music Hall. He had his first solo exhibition in 1951, and continued to show in this country even after moving to Brazil. In the 1960s de Menocal withdrew from the secular world and spent over a decade at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, and later with the Trappists in Derryville, Virginia, and Spencer, Massachusetts. After leaving the monastery he settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and returned to painting. In the still life arrangements for which he is best known, de Menocal is concerned with quietude of mood and with formal issues of balance and tone.

Most stamped verso: Richard de Menocal/ 539 East 88th Street/ New York City


Mecklenburg, Virginia M.; Essay By William Kloss. Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987. p. 48. Online at (9 August 2006).

Additional information


20th Century