Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 17 December 1982, lot 143 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem); Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 12 December 1984, lot 68 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem); Ringmer Collection, Sussex, by 1988.
Though his precise dates are unknown, Andries Benedetti was a pupil of Vincent Cernevael in 1636 and later moved to the studio of Jan Davidz. de Heem. Much influenced by his master, Benedetti's work imitates the innovations of de Heem, creating sumptuous compositions with skimming light and combining the rich, colourful, typically Netherlandish palette with the more muted tones popular in Northern painting.
Fred Meijer dates this painting between 1640, when the still life painter had been accepted as a master of the Antwerp Guild, and 1649, when he is last recorded.
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This large canvas has been lined with wax. The paint layer is very heavily varnished. This heavy varnish and wax lining certainly encourage re-examination of the restoration. However, one should be prepared to encounter a fairly complex restoration when the picture is cleaned. This restoration is not visible under ultraviolet light, but it runs diagonally from the center of the right edge across the background and up into the upper left edge. Whether this is a break in the canvas or some other issue is unknown.
Apart from retouches that are faintly visible under ultraviolet light in the white napkin and a few other spots, the condition seems to be reasonably respectable within the remainder of the picture. There is a pentiment in the base of the dish holding the lobster, and previous linings have probably compromised the texture of the work. However, there is no question that a reexamination of the restoration would certainly improve the picture. "This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."