View full screen - View 1 of Lot 127. LAURENS CRAEN  |  A STILL LIFE WITH A POMEGRANATE AND OTHER FRUITS, OYSTERS, SHRIMPS AND SHELLS ON A VELVET BOX ON A TABLE.
127

LAURENS CRAEN | A STILL LIFE WITH A POMEGRANATE AND OTHER FRUITS, OYSTERS, SHRIMPS AND SHELLS ON A VELVET BOX ON A TABLE

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 40,000 USD

Property from Salomon Lilian Dutch Old Master Paintings, Geneva

LAURENS CRAEN | A STILL LIFE WITH A POMEGRANATE AND OTHER FRUITS, OYSTERS, SHRIMPS AND SHELLS ON A VELVET BOX ON A TABLE

LAURENS CRAEN | A STILL LIFE WITH A POMEGRANATE AND OTHER FRUITS, OYSTERS, SHRIMPS AND SHELLS ON A VELVET BOX ON A TABLE

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 40,000 USD

Lot sold:

43,750

USD

Property from Salomon Lilian Dutch Old Master Paintings, Geneva

LAURENS CRAEN

The Hague (?) circa 1620 - 1670 Middelburg

A STILL LIFE WITH A POMEGRANATE AND OTHER FRUITS, OYSTERS, SHRIMPS AND SHELLS ON A VELVET BOX ON A TABLE


signed lower left (on table): Laurens Craen

oil on panel

unframed: 20½ x 26 in.; 52 x 66 cm.

framed: 26¾ x 32 in.; 66 x 81.3 cm.

The painting is executed on a large single plank of wood which has cradling on the reverse. The painting has been recently cleaned to reveal a beautifully preserved picture. There is strong impasto in the lemon rinds, and deep saturation of color in the reds and greens. Slight areas of thinness are visible in the thinly applied background, though this is not distracting to the overall effect. UV light reveals only a few tiny retouches in the background and in the lower left corner. The painting should hung in it’s current condition. In a carved wooden frame.


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.

Clark collection, London, 1912;

With Robert Finck, Brussels, 1962-1964;

England, private collection;

Anonymous sale, London, Bonhams, 7 July 2004, lot 84 (as by Jasper Geerards);

With Galleria Luigi Caretto, Turin, 2004;

From whom acquired. 

E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Sterrebeek 1983, p. 355, no. 7 (as by Jasper Geeraerts).


" This is a quintessential Dutch pronkstilleven, or sumptuous and ornate still life. Craen is working in the tradition of his Antwerp contemporary Jan Davidsz. de Heem in his bountiful presentation of oysters, pomegranate, grapes, cut lemon and fruit, all set before the viewer on a draped wooden table. A single source of golden light washes over the objects, highlighting their pristine surfaces—they are tangible and alive. Such was the skill of Craen and the best Dutch Golden Age still life painters. This is a signal of the bountiful economic period in the Netherlands during which the picture was produced, and it is a quintessential example of the refinement and technical mastery which are hallmarks of this genre."


David Pollack



Despite being attributed in the past to Jasper Geeraerts (circa 1620- circa 1654), this highly polished and beautifully lit still life is a fine example of the work of Laurens Craen. During a recent restoration Craen's signature was revealed on the table, and indeed the picture bears all of the hallmarks of this important but rare specialist. On the stone table, partially covered by a green cloth, lies a pewter plate set with an open pomegranate, a wine glass à la façon de Venise, lemons, grapes and oysters. A draped velvet box topped with shells can be seen in the background. By gradually toning down the hues, the skillfully and precisely depicted objects seem almost real, the metal appears cold due to the reflected shape of light, and the fruit and textiles appear soft. These so called pronkstillevens, or sumptuous still life paintings, were popular in the artist’s lifetime. Laurens Craen is mentioned as being a member of the Middelburg Guild of St. Luke from 1654 to 1664. In a letter to Constantijn Huygens, secretary of the Prince of Orange, dated 14th October 1649, Craen offered his services to the court. There is no record of Craen’s presence in Antwerp in the 1640s, but his work shows similarities with the paintings of Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-1683/84), who was active in Antwerp at the time. Few paintings by Laurens Craen are known; his earliest dated work is supposed to be from 1635, while the latest dated work is from 1666. In 1984 Sam Segal listed twenty paintings by the artist, of which the majority were signed, but only a small number were dated. This tonal still life is characteristic of Craen, with the illuminated and vertically accentuated projection on a wall or a corner of the room.


Craen’s still lifes, often arranged on a table, portray a table either to the left or right-hand side of the picture, partially draped with a cloth, on which a pewter plate is placed, bearing pomegranates and fish or crustaceans. This central motif is often accompanied by a partially peeled lemon and invariably by grapes, whose vine leaves are reminiscent of those in the paintings of Balthasar van der Ast (1593-1957). However, unlike van der Ast, Craen chose to render his vine leaves larger and integrates them into the main diagonal of the composition. The leaves trail between the light and the shadow, thus working as an intermediary element between the foreground and the background. Balthasar van der Ast, on the other hand, painted his vine leaves as if they were silhouettes against the background.