Carl Schuch, whose life’s work may be situated somewhere between realism and Impressionism, repeatedly painted still lifes. In his search for the “essence of appearances,” as the painter put it in a letter, he was striving to abstract what was material from the objects, and not merely trust what could be seen, but rather question it critically. This is something Schuch first attempted in a series of apple still lifes that he created in Munich at the beginning of 1876. After moving to Venice, he continued this project, painting a series of still lifes featuring a duck and an enamel pot in 1879–80, to which the Bremen canvas belongs. He constructed this work in strongly reduced, muted tones of local color, using only fleeting contrasts of light and shadow. The decomposing duck and the enamel pot are clearly recognizable as such. Despite his criticism of the materiality of things, Schuch neither renounced the object, nor did he produce copies. Rather, he recorded subtle observations that are highly abstracted by means of ingenious color tones.