Lot 29
  • 29

Jan Davidsz. De Heem

600,000 - 800,000 USD
785,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jan Davidsz. de Heem
  • Still life of fruits, nuts, oysters, a lobster, insects and a snail on a ledge with various vessels
  • signed lower left: J.D. De Heem
  • oil on canvas
  • 20 1/2 x 25 3/4 inches


Imbert collection, France;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Private Collector"), New York, Christie's, 31 May 1991, lot 88;
There purchased by Bernard Palitz.

Catalogue Note

This meticulously rendered still life is a late work by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, and one of the best preserved examples from his mature period to appear at auction in at least a decade.  The work utilizes a number of classic de Heem elements, beginning with a strongly diagonal composition which draws the viewers eye from bottom left to top right. He incorporates numerous still life motifs that appear throughout his career, particularly the dark green withered leaves, multiple reflection points off of the gilt goblet, and finely rendered skins of the various citrus fruit and the wings of the butterfly. 

Sam Segal has previously dated the picture to the early or mid 1670s (see note in ex-Christie's sale catalogue, 31 May 1991, lot 8), comparing it with de Heem's dated work from 1667 in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Brussels (inv. no. 3166), as well as the artists's last known dated painting from 1675 (the only dated work in his oeuvre after 1655; sold London, Sotheby's, 5 December 2007, lot 38). Particularly in the latter example, the paintings share almost identically rendered green grapes, as well as the same snail, executed with a high sheen on its shell. 

Fred Meijer of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie has recently examined the picture first hand, and confirms the attribution to de Heem, dating it slightly later than Segal, to circa 1675 or slightly later. He notes that the calligraphy of the signature (with a curly initial J) only occurs in very late work, and that other features found here concur with those in late works by the artist, such as the handling of the apricots and foliage. This work will also be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of De Heem, currently in preparation.