While Beert's œuvre now includes more than twenty signed paintings, there are no dated ones known, only some of his coppers are stamped with the mark of the metal worker Peeter Stas, and dated 1607, 1608 or 1609. The combination of oysters, regarded as luxurious delicacies, and sweetmeats appears frequently in Beert's art, surrounded by other objects of luxury such as the gilt cup and silver spice box. This spice box is probably of Spanish or Flemish origin, and the impressive nautilus cup is probably German.
Dr Fred G. Meijer has kindly confirmed the attribution on the basis of photographs, and we thank him for his help in cataloguing this lot.
According to Dr. Meijer there is (or was, it seems to have disappeared in WW II) another version of this composition in Warsaw (oil on panel, 54 x 80 cm; Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie) which was traditionally attributed to Osias Beert, but which is not entirely up to his quality of execution. Both our painting and the one from Warsaw have stronger and weaker areas. In his opinion it may well be that there was an entirely autograph version of this composition and that the present work and the Warsaw painting are studio versions, probably with some assistance of the master himself. Overall, the quality of our version seems better that of the Warsaw painting.
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