Jan van Huysum
- Jan van Huysum
- A still life of poppies in a terracotta vase, roses, a carnation and other flowers with a bird's nest on a marble ledge
- signed lower left: Jan Van Húijsúm fecit
- oil on copper
- 53.5 by 44 cm.; 21 1/8 by 17 1/4 in.
Claude Joseph Clos, Conseiller d'État, Lieutenant-Général, Paris;
His deceased sale, Paris, Delaroche, 12 November 1812, lot 14, with companion lot 15, for 2,681 francs;
With Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun (1748–1813), Paris;
His deceased sale, Paris, Paillet, 27 December 1814, lot 86, with companion lot 85, sold for 600 francs;
Dr. Gerardus Munnichs van Cleef, Utrecht;
His deceased sale, Paris, Pillet, 4 April 1864, lot 48, for 7,050 francs;
With Eugene Slatter, London;
Sir Bernhard Eckstein Bt., London, 1948;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 8 December 1948, lot 17;
With Agnew's, London;
Isidore Ostrer, London, 1976;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 8 December 1976, lot 4, for £34,000 to Koetser;
Acquired by the late owners on 8 September 1977 for 490,000 Swiss francs.
Charles Blanc, Le trésor de la curiosité tiré des catalogues de vente de tableaux, dessins, estampes, livres, Paris 1857, vol. II, p. 292;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. X, London 1928, p. 359, no. 95;
Colonel M.H. Grant, Jan van Huysum, Leigh-on-Sea 1954, p. 21, no. 56.
Van Huysum first painted the central portion of this picture on a small rectangular copper plate, which he then signed before expanding the composition by inserting it in a larger upright copper plate (see diagram fig. A). He did the same with a fruit piece that formed the pendant to the present work (see fig. B, and diagram fig. C). Although they were sold on several occasions as consecutive lots, the pair remained together until the Eckstein sale at Sotheby's in 1948, where they found different buyers. There the pendant fruit piece was acquired by Lt Col. B.J. Montfort-Bebb, and passed to his widow in 1952. It is now in a private collection in Germany.
Why Van Huysum enlarged these two works remains the subject of conjecture. He might perhaps have conceived both as a pair of small flower and fruit pieces, and may have enlarged them at the request of a collector. Fred G. Meijer has kindly suggested that they were probably painted in the 1730s.
There are further instances of pendant still lifes of fruit and flowers on copper supports by Van Huysum, both of small landscape and larger upright formats, although no other enlarged works have come to light. Of the former type is a pair in The Mauritshuis, The Hague, both signed, each measuring 21 by 27 cm.; of the latter is a pair in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, each measuring circa 50 by 40 cm, and another in Schwerin, Staatliches Museum, each measuring 47 by 50 cm.1 Like the present picture and its companion, each of these pendant still lifes is signed. The Schwerin pair are dated 1742 and 1743, lending support to the idea that pendants were not always conceived as such from the outset but combined when sold. The compositional scheme of the present work's pendant, with a diagonal vine twig from upper right to lower left, a large vine leaf in the upper left, and peaches on a ledge to the lower left, is repeated in a work on copper sold London, Christie's, 8 July 1994, lot 72 (with a flower-piece pendant quite different in composition to the present example).
1. See S. Segal et al., The Temptations of Flora. Jan van Huysum 1682–1749, exhibition catalogue, Zwolle 2007, pp. 217–20, nos F21 and F22, reproduced pp. 218–19, pp. 221–25, nos F23 and F24, reproduced pp. 222–23, pp. 270–74, nos F39 and F40, reproduced pp. 272–73.