Lot 10
  • 10

Isaak Soreau

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Isaak Soreau
  • Still life with a basket of flowers and fruit
  • oil on oak panel
  • 66,5 x 97,5 cm


Mica Salabert;

His sale, Paris, Ader–Picart–Tajan, 8 June 1993, lot 15, for 1,100,000 French francs (as attributed to Isaac Soreau);

With Michel Ségoura, Paris;

From whom acquired by the present owners.



Probably La nature morte de Brueghel à Soutine, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, 5 May – 1 September 1978, pp. 119–20, no. 77, reproduced (image partially cropped in the catalogue);

G. Bott, Die Stillebenmaler Soreau, Binoit, Codino und Marrell in Hanau und Frankfurt 1600–1650, Hanau 2001, p. 192, no. WV.UIS.O, reproduced (under uncertain attributions to Isaak Soreau; photograph shows painting prior to cleaning).

Catalogue Note

This unusually large panel by Isaak Soreau, painted with his customary clarity of design, has the delicacy of his best work and probably dates from his years in Antwerp when he produced meticulously detailed fruit and flower still lifes.

The son of Daniel Soreau (before 1565–1619), a wool merchant-turned-painter from Tournai in Flanders, Isaak was born in Hanau, a town close to Frankfurt, where his family had emigrated. Although he began his training in Hanau and is recorded there until 1626, it’s likely that he spent the next decade or so in Antwerp.

Like so many of Soreau’s still lifes, this painting bears the unmistakable influence of the Antwerp still-life painter Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582–1647). During Soreau’s years in Antwerp, it is probable that he spent some time in Hulsdonck’s studio. This work reprises a composition of a painting signed by Hulsdonck, which sold at auction in Paris in 1992.1 Although little is known of his life, proof that Isaak worked in Antwerp is also provided by a number of works known to have been painted on panels with Antwerp makers’ marks and many of them, including this one, are on characteristically thin Flemish panels.2

Very few works by Soreau are either signed or dated, although some idea of chronology can be established. Of the three dated works known today, one was painted in 1638 in a style very close to Hulsdonck; another probably also dates to that year – the third digit is illegible but it is likely to have been painted in the ’30s – as it is close in style to the other work from that year; while the third was painted later in 1645 and has more in common with the Hanau School and the work of the leading still-life painter Georg Flegel (1566–1638).3  

Soreau’s works typically reuse the same objects in new arrangements. A combination of flowers and a basket of fruit reappears for instance in an impressive asymmetric still life of slightly smaller dimensions at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.4 The scattered roses and glossy cherries are a common feature, so too are bunches of green grapes paired with apricots and plums, with the whole composition similarly assembled on a plain wooden table.

We are grateful to Fred G. Meijer of the RKD, The Hague, who fully supports the attribution of this panel to Isaak Soreau.



1. Oil on panel, 68.5 x 96.5 cm; closely comparable in size to this painting. Anonymous sale, Paris, Beaussant-Lefèvre, 4 December 1992, lot 39.

2. See A still life with fruit in a basket, oil on oak panel, stamped on the reverse with the Antwerp panel-maker’s mark of Michael Vrient, 58.5 x 83.5 cm.; Property from a corporate collection, sold London, Sotheby’s, 4 July 2007, lot 37, for £180,000.

3. Bott 2001, p. 172, no. WV.IS.1, p. 187, no. WV.IS.46, and p. 188, no. WV.IS.50. They are respectively at the Staatliches Museum, Schwerin (oil on copper, 38.4 x 56.3 cm.); in a private collection, acquired in New York at Sotheby’s 11 January 1996, lot 73 (oil on copper, 61.3 x 65.4 cm.); and in a private collection (oil on canvas, 51 x 72.5 cm.).

4. A 594; oil on panel, 57 x 89 cm.; see E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Sterrebeek 1983, p. 383, no. 20; also F. G. Meijer, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The Collection of Dutch and Flemish Still-Life Paintings bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, Zwolle 2003,  pp. 280–81, no. 71, reproduced in colour as plate 5.