What if it was a tomato and not an apple? Would the meaning of this work change?
Ha! What a great question! I think it would change the meaning.
The apple has thousands of years of symbolism behind it, especially in relation to the Bible and the fall of man. Eve plucks the fruit from the tree of knowledge, usually depicted as an apple.
So a nude woman holding an apple has seductive and disobedient connotations—even though she's clearly a contemporary lady (see her fashionable large hat and the Rococo Revival sofa she lies on). Glackens seems to be presenting her to us as a modern-day Eve!
Ah yes. My kind of lady.
Can you tell me who has owned it in the past and when the museum acquired it?
It debuted in 1910 at the "Exhibition of Independent Artists," an unjuried display open to all "intended as a venue for progressive works of art." It stayed in the artist's family until the Museum purchased it through a dealer in 1956.