PROPERTY FORM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
Epellet Collection 1804–1889;
Thence by descent to the present owner.
This exceptionally unusual, beautiful signed flower still life is a late work by Hulsdonck. Pure flower still lifes by Hulsdonck are very rare with only two other signed compositions known, one last recorded with Leonard Koetser in 1964 and the other in the Heinz collection.1
Hulsdonck's still lifes usually took the form of fruit, somewhat haphazardly placed in bowls or baskets, on a wooden ledge with further pieces of fruit scattered around the base of the bowl or basket. This painting with its upright vase of flowers is thus significantly different from his usual compositional format, although details, such as the exquisitely rendered droplets of water on the leaf lower left, are found throughout his oeuvre. The relatively restricted elevation of the table top and the delicate handling of the paint mark this out as a late work. As well as the three known pure still lifes Hulsdonck also painted nine known fruit and flower compositions where he included small vases of flowers on a ledge next to his more traditional baskets or bowls of fruit.2
Hulsdonck is believed to have spent his youth in Middelburg where the dominant artistic studio was that of Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (see previous lot). The elder artist was an important early influence on Hulsdonck but by 1608 he is recorded as a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke and his works are stylistically closer to Osias Beert the Elder and Isaac Soreau than Bosschaert. He went on to establish a successful workshop within the city specialising in highly naturalist, intricately detailed still lifes.
In the ninteenth century the painting was in the collection of M. Epellet, an architect in Northern France who was awarded the Légion d'Honneur in 1868.
1. A. van der Willigen and F.G. Meijer, A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden 2003, p. 114.
2. Ibid., p. 114.
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