More is more maximalism knows no better model than our buttery new Vintage Edition. Painted by 19th century artist and Frenchman (of course) Antoine Vollon between 1875-1885, Mound of Butter is an embarrassment of riches, a bacchanal of butter, a dairy seduction. What better time to cosign hedonistic indulgence in perhaps the most luxurious of foods than in the lead up to Thanksgiving, when folks from across the country will gather with friends and family to practice gratitude and … bla bla bla THE FOOD. No matter what you celebrate, good food and festivity go hand-in-hand, and in our homes, butter’s an esteemed guest. Mound of Butter brings the party with a timeless edge—picture it hanging in your kitchen or dining room. You might also serve it up as an artful holiday gift for the food lover in your life. (ICYMI, we’ve got a whole Gift Guide devoted to foodies.)
Bathed in butterfat. That’s what comes to mind when we look at Mound of Butter. An image of abundance, bounty, and prosperity, it's dreamy, arresting, and a little obscene. Emerging provocatively from a blurry drape of cheesecloth like a particularly portly reclining nude, our stars’ velvety exterior looks supremely spreadable. Vollon’s strokes give it the impression of having been dolloped, coaxed, and smeared into place. The hefty, wood-handled spatula jutting out at an angle is less violent intruder and more shipwrecked sailor succumbed to a siren’s song. Butter lumped lusciously around its blade, it seems to have surrendered—and who can blame it? We’d willingly go down for a slick of that sumptuous mound. The two fresh eggs in the fore are there for scale, though we think we’ll be forgiven for imagining them scrambled in a giant pat of butter.
Vollon was a self-taught Realist painter best known for his still lifes and landscapes. Mound of Butter is among his most famous works, showing off the crème de la crème of French dairy. Those rich yellows are a sign of something spectacularly scrumptious—yellow butter indicates grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, more grass means more beta carotene (that gives the milk it’s golden hue) and more omega 3s, which means more spreadable fats and tastier flavors. TL/DR, this heap would have been extravagantly large and decadently delicious.
Thick layers of paint build dimension and density, the mountain of glowing butter positively planetary on its pedestal. Vollon’s wide, heavy brushwork mimics the mouthwatering markings of the spatula left on the surface of the subject. The effect is an all-over air of pliability, as if this monumental butter mound has altered its surrounding atmosphere. Kitchen scenes and food preparation were common motifs in 19th century still life painting, but Vollon’s Mound of Butter is so richly expressive and lavishly textured that, in the words of art critic Grace Glueck, “it might have been painted with butter itself.” Like butter, this print is an irresistible crowd-pleaser. Unlike butter, it’ll still be around at the end of a dinner party.
With art for everyone,