Although trained with his brother Peter in the still-life tradition of their native Hanau, Isaak was profoundly influenced by Jacob van Hulsdonck in Antwerp, where he is thought to have settled.1 His works and Hulsdonck's have sometimes been confused, but in fact he had a distinctive style of his own. Characteristic of him is the vine spray which extends beyond the top of the composition, and the motif of mulberries sitting on a leaf, which is almost a signature, appearing consistently in the lower right of his compositions.2 His brushwork too differs from Hulsdonck's. His characteristic delicate feathery handling can be recognised particularly clearly in the present picture in the handling of the grapes.
Of the slightly more than fifty works currently known of Isaak Soreau, only five are signed, and three dated (two of those are from 1638).
We are grateful to Dr. Gerhard Bott for confirming the attribution. Dr bott, who was unaware of this picture when he published his catalogue raisonné on the artist, dates it circa 1630-40.
1. The Antwerp brand on the reverse of the present panel is further evidence of his residency in Antwerp.
2. To be seen, for example, in the picture in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt; those with the Hallsborough Gallery, London, 1957, and P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1962; and the one sold in these Rooms, 11 December 1996, lot 25; see G. Bott, Die Stillebenmaler Soreau, Binoit, Codino und Marrell in Hanau und Frankfurt 1600-1650, Hanau 2001, pp. 180-81, nos. WV.IS 26-30, all reproduced.