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Jan Fyt (Antwerp 1611-1661)
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Jan Fyt (Antwerp 1611-1661)

Still life with dead game birds

Details
Jan Fyt (Antwerp 1611-1661)
Still life with dead game birds
oil on panel
13 x 18 7/8 in. (33 x 48 cm.)
Provenance
Count Cavens (d. 1922); (+) sale J.& A. Le Roy Frères, Brussels, 5-6 October 1922 [=1st day], lot 58, as 'Jean Fyt' (purchased by Goudstikker).
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam.
Looted by the Nazi authorities, July 1940.
Recovered by the Allies, 1945.
in the custody of the Dutch Government.
Restituted in February 2006 to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker.
Literature
E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature au XVIIe siècle, Brussels, 1956, p. 165.
C. Wright, Paintings in Dutch Museums. An Index of Oil Paintings in Public Collections in the Netherlands by Artists born before 1870, London, 1980, p. 130.
E. Greindl, Les peintures flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Brussels, 1983, no. 230.
N. Sluijter-Seiffert, Mauritshuis: Illustrated general catalogue, Amsterdam, 1993, pp. 59-60, no. 867.
Exhibited
The Hague, Schilderkundig Genootschap Pulchri Studio, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, November 1924, no. 24.
Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 11-26 June 1927, no. 44.
The Hague, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, Herwonnen Kunstbezit, March-May 1946, no. 867.
The Mauritshuis, The Hague, on loan since 1948.
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.

Lot Essay

Jan Fyt, the son of a wealthy merchant, was born in Antwerp in 1611 and received his earliest artistic training in the studio of Hans van den Berch in 1621-2. He was subsequently apprenticed to Frans Snyders, for whom he continued to work even after becoming a master of the Guild of St. Luke in 1629. In 1633, two years after leaving Snyders' studio, Fyt travelled to Paris and then to Italy where he visited Naples, Florence, Venice and Rome. By 1641 Fyt had returned to Antwerp where, apart from a brief trip to the Northern Netherlands, he remained for the rest of his life.

Fyt was one of the most commercially successful artists of his day, as evidenced by his extensive output: no fewer than 287 extant still lifes have been recorded, including 166 signed works. Moreover, his development is easy to monitor as dated paintings survive from nearly every year between 1638 and 1661 (E. Greindl, 1983, op. cit., pp. 348-54). Fyt's earliest work, of which no examples are known, presumably followed Snyders' model. His travels to Italy, however, led him to abandon his master's use of local colour and to adopt a more tonal palette of mossy green, grey, or brown, as in the present work. Fyt favoured daring, dynamically asymmetrical compositions, in this instance with the bodies and wings of the dead birds describing steep diagonals on the panel. By varying his treatment of the different elements in the composition (for instance, the head and wing of the bird on the right are painted very finely, while its tail and the basket behind are rendered more loosely), Fyt achieves his characteristic sense of depth and produces an image that appears to go in and out of focus.

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