Follower of Joachim Beuckelaer
Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fil… Read more
Follower of Joachim Beuckelaer

A fish market

Follower of Joachim Beuckelaer
A fish market
with signature in monogram and indistinctly dated '·IB·' (lower right, 'IB' linked)
oil on panel
44 ½ x 64 3/8 in. (113.2 x 163.5 cm.)
(Possibly) George Hamilton Constantine (1878 – 1967), and by descent to his son,
Harry Francis Constantine (1919-2014); his sale (†), Sheffield Auction Gallery, 8 May 2015 (=2nd day), lot 748, as 'Flemish School, early 19th century'.
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Lot Essay

The present composition is known in twelve other versions, of which several are autograph works by Beuckelaer. They were painted during the tumultuous times of the Iconoclasm (1566), which disrupted the art market and motivated a change from purely religious to more secular themes. Here the flourishing fish industry is celebrated through the display of the great bounty from the sea. Such pictures also increasingly embraced a moralizing subtext, warning against the excesses of food and sexual pleasures, a theme that is intimated here.
The scene is set in a market stall with architectural features, incorporating a biblical episode in the background. In this case, The Miraculous Draft of Fish can be seen through the archway on the upper left part of the composition. The masterfully composed view of a daily fish market invites the viewer to examine closely the rich products on offer. The fishmonger gazes out at the viewer directly with a collusive expression, holding the salmon fillet in a suggestive manner. Paintings such as this one remained popular through the end of the seventeenth-century and were hung specifically in kitchen and dining room settings.

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