Knife and Fruit by the Window was painted three days after the death of the son of Angelina Beloff and Diego Rivera. It is a still life depicting some succulent, brightly-colored pieces of fruit in the foreground. The influence of the French painter Paul Cézanne, whom Rivera admired, is clear in the treatment given to each and every element in the composition: the placement of the fruits, carefully arranged; the window of Rivera’s studio on Rue du Départ, looking over the rooftops of Paris; and the upper left section, which captures a glimpse of the tree-lined boulevard near the studio, in the vicinity of the Gare Montparnasse.
Grays and browns predominate, colors by means of which Rivera seeks to reflect the life of the city, as he captures the distinctive qualities of a vertical Paris, on a cold, gray day, set off against the deep reddish-browns of some of the rooftops and the colored fruit, both elements competing for the viewer’s attention. The touch of light is rendered through the wine bottle, with its luminous refraction, and the right edge of the table.