Lot 47
  • 47

Maria van Oosterwijck

600,000 - 900,000 USD
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  • Maria van Oosterwijck
  • Still Life of Roses, Carnations, Marigolds and Other Flowers with a Sunflower and Striped Grass, in a Glass Vase with a Knife and String upon a Marble Ledge
  • signed and dated on the ledge lower left: MARIA VAN OOSTERWYCK f. 1680
  • oil on canvas
  • 38 1/4 x 30 3/8 inches


The Wolf collection, Kassel;
Friedrich Frey Fürst (1862-1944);
Thence by decent to his son, Fritz Frey;
By whom sold ('The Property of Fritz Frey'), London, Sotheby's, 11 December 1996, lot 79;
There purchased by the present collector.


F. Frey, Bürgenstock, Zürich 1967, pp. 102-103.


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, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting appears to be in very good condition. The canvas has a lining which is not properly leveling some of the cracking yet the paint layer is nonetheless stable and in lovely condition. Throughout the numerous details of the floral still life and the elements on the table top, the condition is splendid and although the ochre colors of the sunflower in the upper center have weakened over the years, the condition of the paint layer is beautiful. Under ultraviolet light very few restorations are visible and it is likely that very few exist. However, along the bottom edge on the right side there appear to be restorations and there may be losses in this one section. The painting will respond beautifully to a fresh approach to restoration.
"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."

Catalogue Note

Although van Oosterwyck's work borrows elements from Jan Davidsz. de Heem, with whom she studied according to her biographer Arnold Houbraken, her personal style is more sober and reticent in presentation. This was no doubt a reflection of her own pious character; she died unmarried and was 'modest and unusually religious'.1 She was reputedly a slow worker and, as a result, paintings by her are rare, though she did have a rather considerable royal clientele including Louis XIV, King Jan Sobieski of Poland, and Emperor Leopold I.2 The motifs of the sunflower and the striped Canary grass seem to have been favorites and recur in several of her flower pieces. The present work may, for example, be closely compared to the Flower Piece with Shells painted for the Elector of Saxony, and now in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden (reproduced in P. Mitchell, European Flower Painters, 1973, p. 192, fig. 269).

This picture once formed part of the Bürgenstock collection, a remarkable private collection assembled by Swiss hotelier Friedrich Frey-Fürst.  Many of the works from the collection, which focused primarily on Dutch and Flemish pictures, adorned the walls of his hotels, the most famous of which being the namesake of the collection, Bürgenstock, which overlooks Lake Lucerne. Frey-Fürst amassed the majority of his art in the 1930s, and although its strength lay in its Northern pictures, among which the present canvas ranked as one of the finest, he also collected a number of Italian pictures. Upon his death, Frey-Fürst's son Fritz Frey inherited the entire group and subsequently sold a portion of it, including the present work, in London, Sotheby's, 11 December 1996.

1.  A. Houbraken, De Groote Schouburgh, II, Amsterdam 1718-1721, p. 216.
2.  B. Haak, The Golden Age: Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, New York 1984, p. 454.