ANTONIO PONCE | STILL LIFE WITH PEONIES, CARNATIONS, BLUE IRISES AND OTHER FLOWERS IN A SHELL FOUNTAIN
Property from Caylus, Madrid
Valladolid 1608 - after 28 May 1662 unknown
STILL LIFE WITH PEONIES, CARNATIONS, BLUE IRISES AND OTHER FLOWERS IN A SHELL FOUNTAIN
oil on canvas
unframed: 64.5 x 48.3 cm.; 25⅜ x 19 in.
framed: 86.5 x 69.7 cm.; 34 x 27½ in.
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The painting has a new stretcher and a firm relining. The surface of the painting is in good condition, with no apparent extant damages or loss of paint, and is ready to hang. Examination under ultraviolet light reveals extensive scattered infilling to cracquelure as well as areas of more built-up retouching and conservation to an old tear, upper centre; to the stretcher bar inner pressure line, upper right; and two small areas of abrasion in the dark pigments, in the centre of the painting. No further restoration or conservation is required.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
P. Cherry, 'Juan de Espinosa', in Tres siglos de Pintura, Madrid 1995, pp. 90–93 (as Juan de Espinosa);
P. Cherry, Arte y Naturaleza: El bodegón español en el Siglo de Oro, Madrid 1999, pp. 210–11, reproduced pl. LVI (as Juan de Espinosa).
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Spanish Flower painting in the Golden Age, August–October 2002, no. 16 (as Juan de Espinosa);
Madrid, Museo del Prado, Flores Españolas del Siglo de Oro, November–February 2003, no. 19 (as Juan de Espinosa);
London, Rafael Valls Gallery, El Bodegón. An Exhibition. Spanish still life paintings from the 17th to the 19th century, December 2003, no. 18;
Madrid, Galeria Caylus, Naturalezas Muertas Españoles de los Siglos XVII al XIX, January–February 2004, no. 18;
New Mexico, Albuquerque Museum, El Alma de España, April–July 2005, no. 47.
"Exotic sea shells were highly prized during the 17th century and contemporary viewers would have recognised the impressive conch shell at the centre of this elaborate water fountain as having come from the Spanish Americas and the scallop shells as the attribute of Saint James the Greater, the patron saint of Spain. Ponce’s still life is a feast for the senses as it evokes the aesthetic beauty of the flowers, their scent and the noise of the running water of the fountain."
In 1624 Antonio Ponce entered the studio of Juan van der Hamen, the most celebrated still-life painter in early seventeenth-century Spain, as an apprentice. Trained in the shadow of his master but with undeniable talents as a painter and enormous ability as an imitator, Ponce focused on the creation of copies and variants of Van der Hamen’s models. At the end of his period of apprenticeship in 1628 Ponce married his master’s niece, Francisca de Alfaro. It is most likely that on the death of Van der Hamen in 1631 Ponce temporarily took charge of the workshop, although he subsequently established himself as an independent painter and it is only from this date that signed and dated works by him are known. Ponce would become a skilled and talented artist, characterised by his precise use of line, emphasis on detail and concise brushwork. Around 1640 his work evolved towards more complex and elaborate compositions, such as the present painting. A similar still life of this type, with an elaborate fountain, was offered at Christie's, New York, 26 May 2000, lot 60. It is signed by Juan de Epinosa, a contemporary of Ponce and an artist with an as-yet not totally defined biography, to whom this painting was previously attributed. Given that the two artists knew each other it is likely that they inspired one other or that one borrowed this idea, which offered a sophisticated alternative to the habitual courtly floral still life.