This still life shows nothing more than a partridge and a pear, arranged diagonally on a stone ledge. The snare hanging over the edge goes beyond the limits of the picture and indicates, with macabre irony, how the partridge came to be the subject of a ‘nature morte’ (still life). There is something very laconic about the combination of these two objects, which Chardin has depicted with rapid, visible brushwork. This makes them a subject of pure ‘peinture’ – with no particular significance in terms of content.
This painting by Chardin, acquired by the Museums-Verein in 1973, represents a link between the small but remarkable collection of French paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the genre of still life, which can also be found in all other departments. The Städel director Ernst Holzinger, who died in 1972, had long endeavoured to acquire a painting like this by Chardin for the museum - but to no avail. Immediately after his death the museum society, founded in 1899, organised the 'Holzinger-Gedächtnis-Spende' (donation in memory of Holzinger), in order to continue Holzinger's efforts to purchase this picture. Chardin's simple, noble painting is regarded as a highlight of still-life painting.