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    Sale 7446

    Important Old Master & British Pictures Including works from the Collection of Anton Philips

    6 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 37

    Pierre Dupuis (Montfort l'Amaury 1610-1682)

    Branches of plums tied with a ribbon and suspended from a nail, with lilies and roses in a blue and white porcelain vase, on a sculpted ledge with pomegranates and grapes

    Price Realised  


    Pierre Dupuis (Montfort l'Amaury 1610-1682)
    Branches of plums tied with a ribbon and suspended from a nail, with lilies and roses in a blue and white porcelain vase, on a sculpted ledge with pomegranates and grapes
    oil on canvas
    35 x 45 5/8 in. (89 x 116 cm.)

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    Born in Montfort l'Amaury in 1610, Pierre Dupuis (fig. 1) would have trained in Paris, where, in the 1620s two main schools of still-life painting predominated: one in Saint Germain des Près led by Flemish emigrés Pieter van Boucle and Jean-Michel Picart, the other in the quartier of Notre-Dame, where Louise Moillon and François Gernier were the leading exponents of the genre. A probable trip to Italy in the decade 1630-1640 further developed his art and this, coupled with elements learned from his Franco-Flemish training, culminate in the present masterpiece, which prefigures the classical French style of still-life painting to be elaborated by Dupuis' compatriots for the rest of the century and beyond.

    Dupuis knew considerable success in his lifetime: in 1646, he was appointed Peintre Ordinaire des Ecuries du Roi by his patron Henri de Lorraine, comte d'Harcourt, with the consent of Anne of Austria. As well as still lifes executed before 1659 for Archduke Leopold William, four works are listed in the Albano residence of Benedetto Pamphilj in Rome, as by 'Monsu da Poi' and described simply as representing fruit and flowers. In 1664 Dupuis was received into the Académie Royale de Peinture with his morceau de reception equally described as 'fruits et fleurs'. Given that the present picture is the only known extant work that fits this description, there seems no strong reason not to follow the views of Faré (loc. cit.), Coatalem (loc. cit.) and the 1999 sale catalogue that the present picture was Dupuis' morceau de reception (Coatalem also adding that this work is 'un chef-d'oeuvre de la nature morte française du XVIIe siècle'). Faré further identifies this canvas with one that was sold under the Restauration by the Museum of Grenoble, and listed in the catalogue of l'an IX of the museum.

    This sumptuous painting, with its strong geometrical structure, close attention to detail and rich mix of palette brings together elements from the Northern and Italian still-life traditions. Sterling has pointed to the use of the motif - similar to the present work - of a branch of fruit hanging before a stone wall in the Florentine Bartolomeo Bimbi's Still Life (op. cit., fig 80a). Others have compared the frequent inclusion in Dupuis' oeuvre of a carved (and often cracked) stone ledge, with that in the work of Agostino Verrocchi (active Rome 1619-1636; see, for example, F. Zeri et al, La Natura Morta in Italia, Milan, 1989, II, p. 724, no. 859). Certainly the rich palette of this picture seems to owe much to the Roman Caravaggesque still-life tradition, witnessed in the work of the Master of the Acquavella still life and Michelangelo di Campidoglio. A more restrained and strongly ordered sense of composition in this work hints at the influence of Northern still-life painters and their representatives in Paris such as Moillon and Picart.
    Dupuis thus absorbed the characteristics of what he saw from the Flemish and Italian schools and, as so clearly demonstrated in this canvas, helped create a style of painting that seems uniquely French, and that would lead to the classical compositions of artists such as Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer and Alexandre-François Desportes. This picture is an outstanding example of the oeuvre of an artist that Faré described as marking the transition between 'les maîtres de la réalité et les peintres décorateurs'.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Jeanne Stirre, Tonnerre, before 1970.
    Anonymous sale; Tajan, Paris, 22 June 1999, lot 15 (FF6,651,000 to the the present owner).

    Pre-Lot Text



    M. Faré, La nature morte en France, son histoire et son évolution du XVIIème au XXème siècle, Geneva, 1962, I, p. 62.
    C. Sterling, La nature morte de l'antiquité au XXème siècle, Paris, 1985, pl. X.
    E. Coatalem, 'Un peintre de natures mortes, Pierre Dupuis, ou l'épanouissement d'un genre', L'Estampille, l'objet d'art, April 1999, p. 52, no. 335.
    C. Mauduit, 'La nature morte française aux XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles et le marché de l'art', L'Optimiste, Paris, 1999 (3rd volume), p. 11, no. 26.
    C. Salvi, D'après nature, la nature morte en France au XVIIème siècle, Tournai, 2000, p. 89.
    Les peintres du Roi, 1648-1793, catalogue of the exhibition, Tours-Toulouse, 2000, p. 226, no. R.37.


    L'Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 30 June 1663, exhibited by the artist as his reception piece (see note).