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National Gallery of Art Acquires Four Elegant Still Life Paintings

October 13, 2013
Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582 - 1647) Wild Strawberries and Carnation  in a Wan-Li Bowl, c. 1620 Oil on Copper - 28.3 × 36.2 cm Washington, National Gallery of Art

Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582 – 1647)
Wild Strawberries and Carnation
in a Wan-Li Bowl, c. 1620
Oil on Copper – 28.3 × 36.2 cm
Washington, National Gallery of Art

The Art Tribune notes the acquisition of four still life paintings by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  Two paintings were purchased, including one by the Flemish artist Jacob von Hulsdonck (above), which was Lot 32 at Sotheby’s Old Masters sale on December 5, 2012.  The picture was estimate at £300,000-500,000 and sold for £361,250, inclusive of the buyer’s premium. About the painting, the Art Tribune notes:

The painter treats the color red depicting different kinds of fruit – cherries, redcurrants, strawberries – while the carnation occupies the upper portion of the composition. The porcelain provides a contrast as well as a visual reference, acting as a focal point on which the composition is centered, while the butterfly and the green leaves into which it blends in fact, bring life to the ensemble. The neutral background, the frontal disposition, the studied dispersion of the elements and the carefully wrought execution can be found in other paintings by the artist.

Van Hulsdonck trained in Middelburg where he was probably influenced by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, before returning to his hometown, Antwerp ; he became master of Saint Luke’s guild in 1608 and probably saw the works of Osias Beert. The motif of the strawberries in a porcelain bowl, accompanied by a flower and sometimes a butterfly can be seen in many artists, such as the Antwerp native Frans Snyders or Adriaen Coorte who was active in Middelburg from 1683 to 1707, as well as Sebastien Stoskopff.

Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Clarice Smith, the Gallery received two works by Peter Binoit, a contemporary of Hulsdonck who was born in Cologne.

Peter Binoit (active around 1611-1627) Still-life with Irises, 1623 Oil on Copper - 24.1 × 19 cm Washington, National Gallery of Art

Peter Binoit (active around 1611-1627)
Still-life with Irises, 1623
Oil on Copper – 24.1 × 19 cm
Washington, National Gallery of Art

Peter Binoit (active around 1611-1627) Still-life with Tulips, 1623 Oil on Copper - 24.1 × 19 cm Washington, National Gallery of Art

Peter Binoit (active around 1611-1627)
Still-life with Tulips, 1623
Oil on Copper – 24.1 × 19 cm
Washington, National Gallery of Art

Of the painter, the Tribune says:

The artist probably studied in Daniel Soreau’s studio in Hanau where Sebastien Stoskopff also trained, then married his master’s niece in 1627 and was active not only in Hanau but also in Frankfurt. Working in a decorative mode, the artist disposes the flowers on a neutral background, face on. These paintings also recall Beert’s manner, as well as that of Velvet Breughel.

Finally, “a still-life by François Desportes, purchased in 2012 from the Stair Sainty Ltd. gallery in London, represents dotted partridges, pheasants, racks of lamb, fruit and William’s pears.”

François Desportes (1661-1743) Still-life with partridges, pheasants, racks  of lamb and William’s pears, 1734 Oil on Canvas - 121 x 95 cm Washington, National Gallery of Art

François Desportes (1661-1743)
Still-life with partridges, pheasants, racks
of lamb and William’s pears, 1734
Oil on Canvas – 121 x 95 cm
Washington, National Gallery of Art

The various pieces of game are wrapped in pork fat and are obviously ready for roasting. Dating from 1734, it was probably exhibited at the Salon of 1738. The scene repeats that in an oval painting from 1716 which Desportes produced for the Regent, at the Palais Royal, and which today resides at the Musée de la Chasse in Paris. Dezailler d’Argenville explains that this painting was intended for a particular kitchen, where the Regent amused himself by doing experimental cooking ; he thus commissioned three paintings from the artist and chose the subjects himself : one was to represent feathered game, another to depict different vegetables and the third meats ready to be put on a spit.

Unfortunately, until the US Government shut down is resolved, nothing inside the National Gallery of Art can be seen.

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