|We have titled this ironic still life after the fictitious book with its prominently displayed spine that supports the unlit candle and candlestick in the image's center.
Our research discloses no such book, in or out of print, so it seems reasonable to take this as the anonymous artist's wry comment on the pursuit of success in the art world -- and, perhaps, the status of his or her own career within that environment.
The snuffed-out candle suggests both a lack of illumination and the termination of some project -- such as a fruitless search after art-world "victory." The undetailed, vague illustrations in the opened book at the rear of the grouping of objects evokes the taxonomic presentation of antiquities for comparative purposes in scholarly tomes on art. Are these meant to signify works that have entered the canon and thus, in the art world's term's, "won"?
Purchased at rummage sale, St. Paul's Church, St. Paul's Avenue, Staten Island, New York, October 31, 2004. 16" x 12".