I suppose there are reasons for this "death" of still-lifes. For one thing, there is a stench of amateurishness about the hackneyed bowl of fruit with bouquet of flowers, or violin with associated musical paraphernalia that seems to attract the beginning painter. Even under the best of circumstances, once the painting is finished, the items just "lie there"...perhaps more like a "still-death" than a still LIFE. Yet those artist who try to breathe renewed "life" into the still-life by painting modern, non-traditional subjects in a non-traditional manner find their work merely objects of curiosity, no matter how realistically they paint and how striking the finished work may be.
At their peak in the tromp l'oel (fool the eye) still life period of the late 1800s and very early 1900s, the works of artists like Frederick Peto and William Harnett were immensely popular. During this, the Victorian era, there was something of a competitive quality that marked these still-life halcyon days. Artists played lively games with their viewers, trying to trick them into believing, for at least a moment, that their still-lifes were the "real thing" and trying to spark feelings of awe at their skill with the painted image. Today all this is barely moment remembered in art history. What has changed? The camera? The level of viewing sophistication of the public? The public attention span? Tastes? Material values? Is the still-life so hopelessly old-fashioned that NOTHING can be done to revive it's popularity? I wish I knew the answers.