BALTHASAR VAN DER AST | Still life of mixed flowers in a glass vase, with three shells, a grasshopper and a spider on a tabletop | 巴爾薩澤・凡・德・阿斯特 | 《靜物：玻璃花瓶內的雜花與桌上的三個貝殼、蚱蜢及蜘蛛》
Property from an Important European Private Collection | 重要歐洲私人收藏
Property from an Important European Private Collection
BALTHASAR VAN DER AST
Middelburg 1593/94 - 1657 Delft
Still life of mixed flowers in a glass vase, with three shells, a grasshopper and a spider on a tabletop
signed lower right: BV. AST.
oil on oak panel
40.8 x 27.5 cm.; 16 x 10¾ in.
40.8 x 27.5公分；16 x 10¾英寸
The following condition report is provided by Henry Gentle who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's:
Balthasar van der Ast
Oil on panel, in a modern faux tortoiseshell and black wood frame
The oak support is in a good preserved condition with no splits or joins; it is unevenly chamfered.
The paint layer is stable, flat and secure.
Under u-v light some minor strengthening to the background and the more vulnerable shadows of the flowers and shells can be detected.
The restoration is sympathetic, sensitively and tightly executed; subtle tones and nuances of the flowers and foliage remain.
The colours are strong and there is a retained crispness to the composition.
The paint texture to the pronounced highlights of the flowers and other details are well preserved throughout the composition.
The tonality of the painting would respond well to the removal of the slightly discoloured varnish.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."
With Johnny van Haeften, 1989, from whom acquired by the father of the present owner;
Thence by inheritance.
P. Taylor, in Dutch Flower Painting 1600–1750, exh. cat., London 1996, p. 42, no. 8, and p. 44, reproduced p. 45.
London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dutch Flower Painting 1600–1750, 1996, no. 8.
When Balthasar van der Ast's parents died in 1609 he went to live with his sister, who five years earlier had married Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. It was therefore with some inevitability that Balthasar too would become a painter and progress to become Bosschaert's greatest pupil. Van der Ast joined the guild in Utrecht in 1619 at roughly the same time as Roelandt Savery (1576–1639). From Savery he acquired a fascination for the depiction of strange insects and creatures. His style is something of a fusion of the purity of Bosschaert's colour and the softer tonality of Savery: Van der Ast tends to soften the edges of his blooms where Bosschaert’s end sharply.
In his compositions Van der Ast was one of the most inventive of still-life painters. Here he animates the scene with an arrangement of three rare shells that bespeak the taste for the exotic, which emerged in Holland in the early seventeenth century, principally through the foundation of the Dutch East India Company and other trading organisations. Next to them he places a spider and a large grasshopper, as eye-catching as the bouquet itself. We see here too, his mastery in the three-dimensional depiction of the bulbous glass vase, in which we can make out the water level and each stem within it. As Paul Taylor stated in the 1996 exhibition, Van der Ast actually surpasses his master’s ability to depict such vessels. Nevertheless it is of course the blooms themselves that dominate the composition. The artist clearly took great pleasure in the intermingling of blues, oranges, reds, pinks, greens, yellows and whites, extending the bouquet to lend it a great sense of verticality, typical of his tendency to elongation that achieves a ‘loose-limbed elegance, natural grace’.