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Louise Moillon (Paris 1610-1696)
Louise Moillon (Paris 1610-1696)

Apricots in a ceramic bowl, with plums on a stone ledge

Details
Louise Moillon (Paris 1610-1696)
Apricots in a ceramic bowl, with plums on a stone ledge
signed and dated 'Louyse: Moillon· / 1631' (lower right)
oil on oak panel, unframed
15 ½ x 20 ½ in. (39.4 x 52.1 cm.)
Provenance
In the present owner's family since the late 19th century.

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Lot Essay

The daughter of the protestant artist Nicolas Moillon (1555-1619), Louise Moillon grew up in the St. Germain des Prés district of Paris which, from the beginning of the seventeenth century, was a centre for painters from the southern Netherlands seeking refuge from religious persecution. Painting from an early age, she soon became influenced by the work of her stepfather, the still-life artist François Garnier (1600-1658), whom her mother married in 1620. In 1629 aged nineteen, Moillon exhibited at Grenoble alongside the work of her step father Francois Garnier. She rapidly attained a reputation as a still-life painter and received a string of important commissions, notably from King Louis XIII of France and also King Charles I of England, who was believed to have owned twelve of her paintings. Moillon's compositions owe much to the Dutch and Flemish exponents of the genre, in particular Jacob van Hulsdonck, Floris van Schooten, Osias Beert, and, particularly in her larger works, to Frans Snyders and Adriaen van Utrecht. Nevertheless, as noted by Michel Faré (Le Grand Siècle de la Nature Morte en France, Fribourg, 1974, p. 56), they have the essential merit of 'témoigner de l'absolue sincérité de leur auteur'.

In her depictions of fruit, Moillon forgoes the theme of decay that so was prevalent in Dutch and Flemish painting of the day. Here, she captures the fruit at its perfect moment of ripeness; the warm tonality of the apricots and peaches is set against the dark background and autumnal leaves. The pale grey bowl in which the fruit is placed appears in her Cup of Cherries and Melon 1633, now in the Louvre, Paris.

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