Paula Modersohn-Becker created around 70 still lifes. This example’s composition and its repertoire of motifs recall numerous still lifes with fruit by Paul Cézanne.
The image is focused on a grey stoneware bowl with apples that stands on a rust-red, patterned tablecloth and has a knife and a turquoise-green glass placed next to it. The diagonal course of the tabletop generates a sense of spatial depth which is intensified by means of the knife lying at an angle. The still life captivates us not just through the artist’s efforts to simplify forms but also through its experimentation with a perspectival oscillation in directing our gaze: the slightly downward view on to the bowl competes with the side view of the glass.