Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)
Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)

Irises, roses, columbine, hyacinth and a tulip in a black pottery pitcher, with seashells and a grasshopper on a stone ledge

Details
Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593/4-1657 Delft)
Irises, roses, columbine, hyacinth and a tulip in a black pottery pitcher, with seashells and a grasshopper on a stone ledge
signed '.B.vander.Ast.' (lower right)
oil on panel
22.5/8 x 17.1/8 in. (57.5 x 43.5 cm.)
Provenance
Anon. sale, 25 November 1868, lot 1, as 'Van Aelst - Fleurs et insectes' (catalogue entry glued to the back of the panel; this sale may be either the Paris or Lille sale recorded by Lugt, nos. 30760-1). Severence Sawyer, Dalton.
Anon. sale [A Private Collector, Massachusetts], Sotheby's, New York, 30 May 1979, lot 100 ($145,000).
with Richard Green, London, from whom purchased by the present owner in October 1979.
Literature
J. Briels, Peintres Flamands en Hollande au dbut du Sicle d'Or 1585-1630, Antwerp and Haarlem, 1987, pp. 244-8, fig. 309.
Exhibited
Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College Museum of Art, A Loan Exhibition of Netherlandish Art, 18 February-2 March 1941, no. 10.

Lot Essay

Van der Ast rarely dated his paintings after 1626 and thus no firm chronology can be established for the work of the last three decades of his career. Fred Meijer feels that this type of flower piece (fairly spaciously composed, with a light background, a grey stone ledge and a few seashells) should probably be dated fairly late in the artist's development, certainly after 1640. Other examples, all undated, include pictures in the Mauritshuis, The Hague, inv. no. 1108 (included in the exhibition Bouquets from the Golden Age, Mauritshuis, 1992, no. 4, illustrated in colour), formerly in the Wetzlar Collection (L. J. Bol, The Bosschaert Dynasty, Leigh-on-Sea, 1960, p. 71, no. 15, included in the exhibition Masters of Middelburg, Kunsthandel Waterman, Amsterdam, March, 1984, pp. 144-5, no. 14, illustrated), and at Sotheby's, London, 7 December 1994, lot 59 (Bol, op. cit., pp. 72-3, no. 23, pl. 38). A more elaborate composition incorporating a bouquet of flowers was at Christie's, New York, 18 May 1994, lot 86 (ibid., p. 85, no. 115).

The pink rose at lower right recurs in several other flower pieces of similar date, including that at Sotheby's, London, 16 April 1980 (ibid., p. 74, no. 31) and that recently with Xavier Scheidwimmer (The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht, Handbook, 1998, illustrated in colour p. 143). A panel on loan to the National Gallery, London, slightly smaller than the present work (Bol, op. cit., p. 73, no. 26; included in the exhibition Masters of Light: Dutch Painters in Utrecht during the Golden Age, San Francisco, Baltimore and National Gallery, London, 1997-8, pp. 360-3, no. 76, illustrated in colour), includes among several analogous elements a very similar pitcher. Probably of (Delft ?) pottery with a black glaze, this is one of a number of unusual containers featured in the painter's later work. It does not seem to recur in any other work by van der Ast, or indeed in the work of any other artist.

We are grateful to Fred Meijer for his assistance in cataloguing this picture.
;

More from Old Master Pictures

View All
View All