“Pronk Still Life with a Silver Cup and Cover, an overturned Silver Gilt Cup Holder, Fruit in a Basket, Peaches, a Ham, Figs, Cherries, Crabs and Lemons on Pewter Plates, Shrimps and Wine Glasses on a partly draped Table”,
This world famous Flemish/Dutch painter of sobre and yet often lavish still lifes grew up in Utrecht, where he was apprenticed to flower still life painter Balthasar van der Ast. In 1626 the painter moved to Leiden. There he made monochrome (“one-color”) still lifes, in which he varied on one, at most two, shades. His subjects were mainly musical instruments and books. After 1631 De Heem left for Antwerp. In this city his work became increasingly colorful and elegant. He also changed the subject and focused on depicting fruits and flowers. Although De Heem lived predominantly in Antwerp, he still regularly spent some time in the North. He was in Utrecht in 1649 and between 1665 and 1672. The work of Jan Davidsz. de Heem was popular with buyers as well as fellow artists. He also had a large number of students and followers, including Abraham Mignon. He was further influenced by Pieter Claesz in his banquet pieces.
De Heem was one of the greatest painters of still lifes in the Netherlands, combining a brilliance and harmony of colour along with an accurate rendering of objects: flowers, in all their variety; European and tropical fruits; lobsters and oysters; butterflies and moths; stone and metal; snails and sea shells.
His still lifes included fruit pieces, vanitas still lifes and flower pieces, but he is best known for his ornate or sumptuous still lifes, the so-called ‘pronkstillevens’. Such as the one shown here.
His remarkable talent gained him a considerable reputation. He could hardly satisfy the demand. De Heem was considered one of the greatest painters of his time. He was well paid and a portrait of Prince William III surrounded by a cartouche of flowers and fruit was sold for 2000 guilders, one of the highest prices ever paid for a painting during the Dutch Golden Age.
Collection Sir Richard V. Sutton Bt.;
by descent to F. Chaplin, London 1855;
by whom given to Sir Richard Sutton;
by descent to Sir R.V. Sutton;
Christie’s London, 1971;
with Richard Green Gallery, cat. 1971, no.6 & ill.;
sale Paul Brandt, Amsterdam, 1972;
with art dealer F.G. Bosiak, Frankfurt (Weltkunst no.48, 1978);
Christie’s London, 1979;
with Waterman Gallery, Amsterdam, cat. 1979, no.9 & ill.;
private collection, The Netherlands;
from a foreign collection;
Douwes Fine Art, 2006;
private collection, The Netherlands;
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, 1991, “Jan Davidsz de Heem und sein Kreis”; Leeuwarden, Fries Museum, ‘Van Jan Steen tot Jan Sluijters, De smaak van Douwes’, from Nov.1998 until Feb.1999, cat.no.9, with ill. (incorrectly as Jan Jansz. De Heem.)
– London 1971, cat. no. 6, colour ill.
– Greindl, 1983, no.10, p 359, no.69, p.361, no.69 as by Jan Davidsz. de Heem & no.88;
– Sam Segal, “Jan Davidsz de Heem und sein Kreis”, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig 1991, addendum 34A & ill.(wrongly attributed to Jan Jansz. De Heem.)
– Liedtke 1992(2), pp. 112, 113, wrongly as by Jan Jansz. de Heem;
– Liedtke 2007, p. 322 (notes 2 and 5);
– Meijer 2013, pp. 255, 263, 266 (detail k), 269 (note 18)
– Meijer, F. G. (2016). Jan Davidsz. de Heem 1606-1684. Catalogue Raisonné, Part 2, p.109-110, A 95 with ill.
This work is included in the catalogue raisonné by Fred G. Meijer, 2016, see literature. Fred Meijer, in a letter of 18 October 2004: “the signature, the quality of the composition, and the certitude with which the objects are placed do not leave any doubt about the authorship. This painting can be dated ca. 1645”.