|ADRIAEN VAN UTRECHT (Antwerp, 1599–1652/53)
STILL LIFE WITH GAME, FRUITS, AND VEGETABLES
Oil on canvas, height: 111,5 cm width: 144 cm
|The painting by Adriaen van Utrecht affords a look into an opulently stocked pantry. On the left, there is a variety of dead wild fowl. Laid out on the table are a pheasant, a quail, a bittern, a duck, a chaffinch and a goldfinch, while a capercaillie, a mallard and other birds are seen hanging on the wall. On the right, in the background, green and blue grapes spill over from a wicker basket. Equally artful is the staging of the vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, and artichokes seem to try to outdo each other in the perfection of their detailing. Finally, a twig of luscious ripe plums droops heavily over the edge of the table as if tempting the viewer to pick one.
While Frans Snyder, the other great Flemish painter of still lifes, uses light colors, Utrecht prefers warm earthy tones, particularly gray-green, and stark dark-light effects. The latter are probably derived from his knowledge of Italian painting and in particular of the works of followers of Caravaggio. With its opulence, density, and painterly finesse, this still life certainly counts among Adriaen von Utrechts outstanding works of the 1640s.
We are grateful to Fred Meijer, RKD Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis, Den Haag, for confirming the attribution on the basis of high-resolution photographs. He dates the painting to the 1640s and compares it to work dated 1641 (see auction, Sotheby’s, London 29 April 2015, lot 348, sold for 93,750 GBP).
The painting has been cleaned and is framed.
|ADRIAEN VAN UTRECHT
Adriaen van Utrecht was a Flemish painter of still lifes. Born 1599 in Antwerp, he was born into the “Golden Age” of Flemish painting in the 17th century. He was a pupil of the painter and art dealer Herman de Nijt, who owned a rich art collection, and became “free Master” of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1625. He died in fall 1652 in Antwerp.
Van Utrecht is mostly known for his lavish banquet still lifes, fruit garlands, market and kitchen scenes as well as for representations of live poultry on farms. His paintings, particularly the hunting and game still lifes, show the influence of Frans Snyders. The two artists are considered as the main inventors of pronksilleven, that is, still lifes that emphasize opulence by depicting a broad variety of objects, fruit, flowers, and dead game, often together with humans and animals. Utrecht collaborated on a regular basis with leading Antwerp painters who were pupils or assistants of Peter Paul Rubens like Jacob Jordaens, David Teniers the Younger, Erasmus Quellinus II., Gerard Seghers, Theodoor Rombouts, Abraham van Diepenbeeck, and Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert.
His patrons included the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, King Philipp IV of Spain, and the Prince of Orange.