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44

THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR (THE RAFAEL BELGICA COLLECTION)

Harmen van Steenwijck
A STILL LIFE OF A QUINCE, GRAPES, PEACHES, A WALNUT, AND HAZELNUTS ON A WOODEN LEDGE
Estimate
80,000120,000
JUMP TO LOT
44

THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR (THE RAFAEL BELGICA COLLECTION)

Harmen van Steenwijck
A STILL LIFE OF A QUINCE, GRAPES, PEACHES, A WALNUT, AND HAZELNUTS ON A WOODEN LEDGE
Estimate
80,000120,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London

Harmen van Steenwijck
DELFT 1612 - AFTER 1656
A STILL LIFE OF A QUINCE, GRAPES, PEACHES, A WALNUT, AND HAZELNUTS ON A WOODEN LEDGE
signed lower left on the table: Hsteenwijck
oil on oak panel
26.2 x 36.8 cm; 10 1/4  x 14 1/2  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 13 December 1974, lot 142;

Private collection, France;

Anonymous sale, Paris, Piasa, 24 June 2005, lot 33;

With Johnny van Haeften, London, December 2005;

With Salomon Lilian;

Acquired from the above by the present owner.

Literature

F. Meijer, in Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings. Johnny van Haeften. Fourteen, London 2005, cat. no. 27, reproduced in colour.

Catalogue Note

Steenwijck went to study under his uncle David Bailly in Leiden in 1628, but was back in his native Delft by 1633, and joined the Guild there in 1636. The last record of him is in 1656. Given his training with David Bailly, it is not surprising that he painted vanitas still lifes. He also painted still lifes of fresh-water fish, game and barn interiors. By far his most compelling paintings however, and certainly his greatest achievement, are his still lifes of fruit. These are usually kept very simple, with quinces, peaches and nuts (as here), sometimes with cherries or plums, composed in a sloping triangle and set on simple wooden ledges or table tops against a neutral background, nearly always lit obliquely from the upper left.1 No extraneous elements are permitted to disturb the calm (not even the insects ubiquitous in Dutch seventeenth-century still-life painting), and his colours are muted pinks, yellows and greens, and the tonal range limited, with a gentle blonde lighting, to which the artist paid special attention.  

By comparison with much Netherlandish seventeenth-century still-life painting they are devoid of artifice, so that the soft brushwork and subdued lighting alone permits a wholly convincing sense of depth. At their best, and like the present outstanding example, they are reminiscent of the quiet contemplative still lifes that Adriaan Coorte painted in Middelburg in the twilight of the Golden Age at the end of the century: beautifully simple, and seemingly removed from time and place.

Another excellent example of Steenwijck's fruit still-life painting is his still life of quinces, pears, a plum and grapes in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (see fig. 1), dated by Fred Meijer to the mid-1640s.2

1. Bodo Brinckmann described Steenwijck's lighting as 'Caravaggesque' (in J. Sander (ed.), The Magic of Things, exhibition catalogue, Frankfurt and Basel 2008, p. 168, under no. 47).

2. Signed, oil on panel, 29 x 35 cm. Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Daisy Linda Ward collection, inv. no. 74; see F.G. Meijer, The Collection of Dutch and Flemish Still-Life Paintings bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, Zwolle 2003, p. 285, no. 73.

Old Masters Evening Sale

|
London