Lot 3031 - A176 Old Master Paintings - Tuesday, 22. March 2016, 02.30 PM


(circa 1580 Antwerp 1624)
A still life with flowers in a woven basket and a floral bouquet in a porcelain vase on a table top with insects.
Oil on panel.
39.1 × 64.3 cm

- Ingvar Bergström, 9.12.1975 and 24.4.1989.
- Marie-Louise Hairs, 26.5.1977.
- Laurens J. Bol, 28.5.1977.
- Dr. Walther Bernt, July 1978.

- Aspelin collection, Sweden.
- Count Carl von Rosen collection, Stockholm, circa 1913.
- Sale Bukowskis, Stockholm, 1920s.
- Gösta Stenman Gallery, Stockholm, 1934.
- Counsellor Wallin collection, Stockholm.
- Sale Bukowskis, Stockholm, 6.11.1975, lot 5.
- Richard Green Gallery, London, 1976-77.
- Private collection Alfred Studer, Lichtenstein, acquired from the above.
- Swiss private collection.

- Olof Granberg: Inventaire général des trésors d'art peintures & sculptures, principalement de maîtres étrangers (non-Scandinaves) en Suède, Vol. III, Stockholm 1913, no. 97.
- Marie-Louise Hairs: Les peintres Flamands de fleurs au XVIIe siècle, Brussels 1985, no. 115, pp. 342-343 (ill.).
- Sam Segal: Flowers and Nature, The Hague 1990, p. 183 (mentioned in footnote 2).

This painting is archived under No. 14703 at the RKD, The Hague, as a work by the hand of Osias Beert.

Osias Beert, along with Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621), was one of the most important still life painters of the early 17th century. As one of the early pioneers working in still life painting as an independent genre, Beert played an important role in its development. Alongside paintings of richly laid-out tables and still lifes of fruit, Beert favoured floral compositions, often with a blue & white porcelain vase, as in the example offered here. The present work is masterfully executed, with an impressive motif enlivened by a wide palette of colours and several insects. The condition of the work is impeccable.

Lately rediscovered in a private collection, this is a masterwork by the artist, believed to have been painted after 1610. Only a few of Beert’s works were signed and none are dated, although two of his still lifes on copper are marked on the reverse with the date 1609.
In 1602 Beert was accepted into the Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp, prior to which he trained under Andries van Baseroo. Beert most likely painted the majority of his floral still lifes during the 1610s, such as a work in a private collection (RKD Archiv Nr. 14707) which is closely related through its composition and style to the painting offered here.

For the seventeenth-century viewer, this still life would not only have represented a beautiful depiction of flowers, but would have carried strong symbolic connotations: the brief lifespan of the cut flowers calls to mind the brevity of human life, and the caterpillar and butterfly symbolize the resurrection of Christ.

Although the floral motifs of Jan Breughel the Elder certainly had some influence on Osias Beert’s artistic development, Beert brilliantly succeeded in developing his own formal language, and by combining a diversity of motifs in a harmonious manner, creates an atmosphere of exquisite opulence and luxurious plenitude that never ceases to fascinate and delight the senses.

Dr. Klara Alen, to whom we are grateful for her scholarly research on this painting, will include this work in her forthcoming monograph on the still lifes of Osias Beert.

CHF 400 000 / 500 000

€ 373 830 / 467 290

Sold for CHF 480 500 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.