What we find here is an example of an artist who is confident and chooses to strip down his composition to the barest of elements. The balance is delightful and the red tones of the peaches immediately capture your focus. The light arrives from our left, just as it typically would do in all of his still life paintings. A knife overhangs the table, offering some movement vertically downwards, whilst the peaches are stacked to push in the opposite direction. The walnuts to the right offer a variety in texture to the smooth skins of the fruit. On the left is a glass of red wine, just over half full. The table and the wall behind are typically plain and dark, allowing one's focus to capture the colours of the fruit and then to move elsewhere across the remaining items. The dangling knife also allows a small shadow to be cast on the edge of the table. The uninitiated will see randomly placed items here, but this could not be further from the truth, in reality.
Despite being included in an exhibition at the salon in 1769, little mention was made of this beautifully simple artwork. It was to be Chardin's last exhibition that featured this genre, as his health deteriorated. However, in the years since his passing there has been approval from academics who have studied his back catalogue of work. They have appreciated the balance shown here, and see an artist who has truly mastered the genre of still life painting. Soon after this he switched to pastels that were easier to handle throughout the 1770s. Whilst he was respected for those contributions, his career will always be best summarised by the type of artworks that you find displayed here.
Basket of Peaches is a part of the collection of the Louvre in Paris, where a room has been set aside specifically for the work of this artist. Having lived and worked within the institution for a number of years, Chardin will always retain a strong connection with this art venue and he is even known to have taught Fragonard here too, before sending his promising young student on to the studio of Francois Boucher. Documentation around this artwork shows that since it came into their ownership, it has also be loaned to other galleries and museums in Dusseldorf, London and New York, with these major cities regularly rotating their collections between each other in order to offer specialist exhbitions from time to time. Between them, they own a good selection of work from most major artists since the Renaissance.