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Lights of Other Days

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




John F. Peto
American, 1854–1907

About this artwork

Lights of Other Days, like many of John F. Peto’s still lifes, is replete with nostalgia. Strewn along a shallow shelf above a doorframe is an array of old, well-worn objects: candleholders with wax candles nearly used up, rusty oil lamps, and torn books. These discarded commonplace objects allude to older ways of life and fading memories. Peto specialized in trompe l’oeil (fools the eye) pictures; yet his soft-edged style is suggestive of the artist’s hand rather than the heightened illusionism employed by other trompe l’oeil painters such as William Harnett. Trained in Philadelphia, Peto stopped exhibiting his work at professional venues by 1890, creating compositions instead for local patrons near his New Jersey home.

Currently Off View

Arts of the Americas


John Frederick Peto


Lights of Other Days


United States


Made 1906


Oil on canvas


Signed, on verso: "John F. Peto"


77.5 × 45 1/4 cm (30 1/2 × 45 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Goodman Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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