Hendrick de Fromantiou was born in Maastricht in 1633 and is known today primarily for his floral and fruit still lifes. Probably trained in Holland, he worked there for many years and in 1658 is recorded in The Hague. According to Arnold Houbraken the artist worked on a commission for the art dealer Gerrit Uylenburgh. In 1670 he was appointed court painter by the Elector of Brandenburg, Friedrich Wilhelm and later worked for his son Friedrich III. In September 1672 he married a daughter of the successful painter of hunting parties and horses Philips Wouwerman. De Fromantiou participated in a number of royal commissions that allow us to document his whereabouts: Amsterdam 1672, London 1682, Amsterdam and Gdansk 1684. He died in Berlin in circa 1694. These royal appointments would have possibly increased the monetary and aesthetic value of his paintings in the eyes of contemporary art collectors.
De Fromantiou executed a number of near copies of paintings by the highly esteemed still life painter Willem van Aelst, and like those, the present composition raises a number of questions about the significant yet little explored relationship between these two artists. With regard to the present work, the marble table top, the peaches and the vines display a deep engagement with Van Aelst's work. A similar work by Van Aelst, signed and dated 1670, is in the Louvre, Paris. The blue and white tankard, an anomaly in the artist's oeuvre, readily recalls the kind of objects seen in the work of Juriaen van Streek or other painters working in the orbit of Willem Kalf.
We are grateful to Mr. Fred Meijer at the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague for confirming the attribution on the basis of a transparency (written communication, 26 June 2006).
Mr. Fred Meijer points out similar composition by De Fromantiou in the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp.