John Frederick Peto（1854-1907）原為十九世紀美國名不見經傳的靜物畫兼欺眼畫家。藝術史學者Alfred Frankenstein（1906-1981）在二十世紀中葉因研究靜物畫家William Michael Harnett（1848-1892）之故，再發現同樣具優秀繪畫技巧的Peto，並視他為美國現代藝術史的前驅。然而，欺眼畫自有其固定的形式，在該畫類的範疇下，Peto的文件架畫與貼片畫究竟有何開創性？或者研究者僅是為了建立本國的藝術史脈絡？另外，自Frankenstein以降的學者將Peto創作Lincolin像系列的動機歸因於畫家父親之死，但若從畫家的創作手法及其生平背景來看，此系列欺眼畫似乎另有其它意義。
本文首先釐清欺眼畫的特性與形式，接著檢視十九世紀畫家與時人對欺眼畫所抱持的看法。第二章著重在文件架畫與貼片畫的功能性問題，探討Peto如何於他的畫作中，使用文字和圖像表徵人物身分，進而對Peto的Lincolin像系列再次詮釋。第三章則透過分析十九、二十世紀的欺眼作品，與觀察欺眼畫在美國藝術通史和欺眼畫通論的書寫方式，以解決Peto的定位議題，並對過去研究者視Peto為現代藝術前驅之看法做一回應。 ;John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), an American trompe l’oeil and still life painter, was little known in his age. During his study of the still life painter William Michael Harnett (1848-1892), art historian Alfred Frankenstein (1906-1981) rediscovered Peto in the mid-20th century, and regarded him as a pioneer of American modern art. However, trompe l’oeil in the form of rack painting and patch painting has its long-established conventions, and so in what sense can Peto’s works be seen as innovative? Or is this recognition of Peto’s pioneering status a strategy for narrating the history of American modern art? Furthermore, most art historians followed Frankenstein’s study and attributed the creation of the Lincoln series to the death of Peto’s father. Nevertheless, the meanings of the series can be understood in other ways if we examine Peto’s family life and his painting practices.
In the first chapter, this dissertation clarifies the characteristics and forms of trompe l’oeil paintings, and then examines 19th-century artists’ and viewers’ attitude to trompe l’oeil paintings. Chapter two focuses on the function of rack paintings and patch paintings. I discuss how Peto used words and pictures to represent figures, and reinterpret the Lincoln series. Finally, chapter three considers Peto’s position by analyzing 19th- and 20th-century trompe l’oeil paintings and the writings both of the history of tromp l’oeil painting and of American art, so as to respond to the claims of scholars who regarded Peto as a precursor of American modern art.