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27

Juan van der Hamen y León

Still life with a basket of fruit with two plates of fruit and birds, all on a stone ledge

Property from the Grasset Collection

Juan van der Hamen y León

Juan van der Hamen y León

Still life with a basket of fruit with two plates of fruit and birds, all on a stone ledge

Still life with a basket of fruit with two plates of fruit and birds, all on a stone ledge

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Property from the Grasset Collection


Juan van der Hamen y León

Madrid 1596 - 1631

Still life with a basket of fruit with two plates of fruit and birds, all on a stone ledge


signed and dated lower left: Juo Vander hamen fat./ .1622 a.os

oil on canvas

57.6 x 100.3 cm.; 22⅝ x 39½ in.


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格拉塞特典藏


胡安・凡・德・哈曼

馬德里,1596 - 1631年

《靜物︰石臺上的水果籃、兩盤水果與兩隻小鳥》


款識︰藝術家簽名並紀年Juo Vander hamen fat./ .1622 a.os (左下)

油彩畫布

57.6 x 100.3 公分;22 ⅝ x 39 ½ 英寸

The following condition report is provided by Henry Gentle who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's:


The painting is lined and there is good adhesion between the original canvas and the lining fabric. The paint layer is stable and secure. Exposure of canvas texture is apparent to the background but also visible elsewhere in the composition, through the basket and the ledge in the foreground. The energetic paint texture through the fruit and the birds is well preserved and the impasted highlights are retained. U-V light shows recent mitigation of some of the exposed canvas texture. The varnish is discoloured and its removal would improve the overall tonality and heighten the chromatic subtlety. The signature is very well preserved.



"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Gentleman'), London, Sotheby's, 13 December 1978, lot 101, for £32,000 (sold as a pair with Still life of fruit and cakes then in the same collection);

Private collection, Paris;

Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 14 January 1994, lot 60, for $450,000;

Where acquired for the Grasset Collection.

W.B. Jordan, Spanish Still Life in the Golden Age 1600–1650, exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1985, pp. 107 and 109, reproduced p. 109, fig. VI.8;

W.B. Jordan and P. Cherry, Spanish Still Life from Velázquez to Goya, exh. cat., National Gallery, London, 1995, p. 49, reproduced fig. 35;

W.B. Jordan, Juan van der Hamen y León and the Court of Madrid, exh. cat., Madrid and Dallas 2005–06, New Haven and London 2005, pp. 103 and 106, reproduced in colour fig. 6.30; 

F.G. Meijer, Brueghel to Canaletto, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, exh. cat., San Diego 2016, p. 34, no. 30, reproduced in colour and on p. 33 (detail);

S. Thomas, A Feast for the Eyes, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, exh. cat., Saint Petersburg, Florida 2019, pp. 54 and 98, no. 21, reproduced in colour p. 55.

San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, Brueghel to Canaletto, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, 2 April – 2 August 2016, no. 30;

San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, on loan 2016–19 (when part of the Genre & Myth display, 2017–19);

Saint Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, A Feast for the Eyes, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, 23 March – 2 September 2019, no. 21.

Signed and dated 1622, this is a particularly grand example of Juan van der Hamen’s innovative work as a still-life painter. Among the most celebrated artists at the Spanish court in early seventeenth-century Madrid, Van der Hamen was this new genre’s most important proponent, specializing in imaginative, balanced and keenly observed compositions. A near contemporary of Velázquez, he was also an admirable portraitist and a painter of religious and allegorical subjects; yet despite his wide-ranging subject matter it is for his still lifes that he is best remembered today.


In contrast to the stepped-plinth compositions that Van der Hamen developed from 1626, when his arrangements of such surfaces become increasingly complex, in the early 1620s he favoured a compositional type with a single ledge, as exemplified here. This approach was to have a profound effect on later Spanish still-life painting, notably in the work of Zurbarán. Here birds alight on a basket of plums, apples, grapes and pears; on the ledge two more birds peck at grapes, an allusion to the story of the classical painter Zeuxis, who painted grapes so naturalistically that they fooled the birds that were drawn to them. A plate of candied cherries on the left is balanced on the right with a dish of glossy olives; above, to one side, is a cluster of fruits, each one hanging by a thread, while a bunch of grapes is suspended on the other side. In its ordered and symmetrical composition and dark background, this painting follows the example of Van der Hamen's predecessor Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560–1627), celebrated for his sparse arrangements of objects in window frame formats; while the basket of fruit and birds reveals the influence of contemporary Flemish still lifes by Frans Snyders (1579–1657) then in Spanish collections.


Responding imaginatively to the taste for Flemish art in Madrid, Van der Hamen painted the same arrangement of fruit as here – albeit in a porcelain bowl rather than a wicker basket – in a work on panel of 1621 preserved at the Escorial and then at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, Madrid.1 The composition was an adaptation of a fruit still life by Frans Snyders in the Spanish royal collection. William B. Jordan described the transformation of this motif as a change of reference from a Flemish to Castilian one, for the basket is of distinctly Spanish character. Demand for Van der Hamen's still lifes was such that he kept a repertory of motifs that he reused in different pictures. The basket and grapes depicted here was clearly a favourite and is very similar to that in a still life sold at Christie's New York on 29 January 1998, lot 118 for $600,000.


1 54.5 x 69.3 cm.; Patrimonio Nacional 10014637; reproduced in colour in New Haven and London 2005, p. 104, pl. 13.