Janet Fish (b. in Boston, 1938) received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Smith College and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale University.
A realist, Fish is well known for her richly executed oil paintings and pastels of glass objects, fruit and flowers.
Fish won the 1993 American Artist Achievement Award/Oils; an Australian Council for the Arts grant to travel and lecture in Australia in 1975; MacDowell Colony Fellowships in 1968, 1969 and 1972 and the Harris Award, Chicago Biennale 1974.
Fish thinks of herself as a "painterly realist," primarily interested in light, atmosphere, motion and lush, saturated color. Motion and energy pervade Fish's compositions.
Janet Fish works in her studios in New York City and Middletown Springs, Vermont.
Images of bubbles were largely used in vanitas, a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with 17th-century Dutch still life painting and also common in other places and periods. Vanitas is loosely translated from Latin as the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. In the 17th century Dutch artists painted children blowing bubbles to convey the brevity of human life, the transience of beauty and the inevitability of death.
Homo Bulla - A Boy Blowing Bubbles, Bartholomeus Van Der Helst (Dutch Baroque Era Painter, 1613-1670)
In the sixteenth century, the Dutch philosopher Erasmus reintroduced the Latin expression “Homo bulla” (”man is a bubble”) in his “Adagia”, a collection of sayings published in 1572.
The symbolism of homo bulla was proverbial in the 1st century BC.
One of the most famous canvases by Sir John Millais was painted in 1885-86 - a boy blowing bubbles with a pipe and a bowl of soap suds. The boy was the artist’s grandson, Willie Milbourne James, aged about five.
The painting was acquired by Sir William Ingram of the Illustrated London News, it was reproduced and presented in the weekly newspaper as a colour plate, where it was seen by Thomas J. Barratt, managing director of A&F Pears. Barratt purchased the original painting from Ingram for £2,200 which gave him exclusive copyright on the picture. Millais' permission was sought in order to alter the picture by the addition of a bar of Pears Soap, so that it could be used for the purposes of advertising. At the time Millais was one of the most popular artists in Britain and he was initially apprehensive the prospect of his work and his grandson, being the subject of commercial exploitation. However when he was shown the proofs of the proposed advertisements he grew to appreciate the idea, which portrayed the soap as if the child had used it to make the bubbles.
William Milbourne James later rose to the rank of Admiral in the British navy, he was known as "Bubbles" for the rest of his life.