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Floris van Dyck (1575 - 1651)

Lot 16: FLORIS VAN DIJCK DELFT CIRCA 1575 - 1651 HAARLEM

Sotheby's

December 8, 2004
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item


Description

signed and dated upper right: FVD (in monogram) fecit/ Ao 1610

oil on oak panel

AN "ONTBIJTJE" STILL LIFE OF THREE CHEESES ON A SILVER PLATE, APPLES AND NUTS IN A WAN-LI PORCELAIN BOWL, MULBERRIES AND OLIVES IN WAN-LI PORCELAIN DISHES, A HALF APPLE AND APPLE PEEL ON A SILVER PLATE, SPUN-SUGAR SWEETS AND OTHER SWEETS ON A WAN-LI PORCELAIN PLATE, BUTTER SHAVINGS ON ANOTHER, GRAPES PILED ON A PLATE, A ROEMER WITH WHITE WINE AND ANOTHER RESTING ON AN ELABORATE GILT MOUNT, A FAÇON-DE-VENISE WINEGLASS, AND AN EARTHENWARE KANNE, WITH VARIOUS BREADS AND A KNIFE, ALL RESTING ON A TABLE DRAPED WITH A WHITE DAMASK CLOTH OVER A RED CLOTH

Dimensions

74 by 114 cm.; 29 by 44 7/8 in.

Exhibited

London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Dutch Paintings, Winter 1952-3, no. 59.

Literature

I. Bergström, Dutch Still-Life Painting, New York 1956 (reprinted 1983), p. 102, reproduced p. 93, fig. 92;
W. Bernt, The Netherlandish Painters of the Seventeenth Century, London 1969, vol. I, reproduced fig. 352;
F.G. Meijer, in Dawn of the Golden Age: northern Netherlandish art 1580-1620, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 11 December 1993 - 6 March 1994, pp. 604-5, under no. 276;
E. Gemar-Koeltzsch, Luca Bild-Lexikon. Holländische Stillebenmaler im 17. Jahrhundert, Lingen 1995, p. 292, no. 98/1, reproduced p. 290.

Provenance

PROPERTY FROM AN ENGLISH PRIVATE COLLECTION

Scudamore Griffiths (1868-1968), Bedfont House, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, by whom bought shortly after the First World War;
Thence by descent.

Notes

Floris van Dijck was one of the earliest and most influential of the native Dutch still-life painters, but remarkably little is known about his life. About a dozen oil paintings by him are known, of which only seven are dated. This and another picture in a Dutch private collection which is also dated 1610 are the earliest of them; the list of currently known dated works is as follows:-

1610 The present picture
1610 Private collection, Holland
1613 The Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem
1615 (or 1616) With Robert Noortman, Maastricht, 1997
161(5?) Sold, London, Sotheby's, 14 December 2000, lot 25
1622 Private collection, Holland (currently on loan to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts)
1628 Exhibited, Auckland, 1982, no. 2

All the dated pictures are signed, with the exception of the 1622 picture, which is also the only one on canvas rather than panel. The picture exhibited in Auckland is a fruit still life that differs considerably in style from all the others and which suggests that after the early 1620s Floris van Dijck's style changed radically. In addition, a watercolour depicting wild strawberries in the Royal Library, The Hague, is signed and dated 1624.

Within this small oeuvre of cohesive table-top still lifes, spanning twelve years, one finds little variation or evidence of stylistic development, and all are composed in a very similar way, using the same elements re-arranged in a different order. In both the present picture and what is perhaps his best-known work, the unsigned and undated still life in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Van Dijck has used an identical white damask cloth (a napkin of similar pattern is also in the textile collection of the Rijksmuseum); and in both pictures one may find the same earthenware Siegburger kanne, porcelain bowl full of apples, dish with olives, silver plate with a half-apple, roemer containing white wine, and the plate laden with green and black grapes. Otherwise the Rijksmuseum picture is a little sparser in its composition, and the arrangement of cheeses is different. The 1622 painting is more complex and lavish in its assembly of elements than its predecessors, but like the present work, and the other picture of 1610, these continue up to and spill over the edge of the picture plane. In the light of this the dating of circa 1615 proposed for the Rijksmuseum picture, which is simpler in its composition than both of the 1610 paintings and the 1622, is highly speculative: it may even predate all of the others.

Floris van Dijck is sometimes confused with his townsman and contemporary Nicolaes Gillisz., also a pioneer of still-life painting in the Northern Netherlands. Gillisz.'s first dated picture, from 1601 (private collection, Germany), belongs wholly to an earlier tradition; indeed it suggests that he might have been exposed to the works of Georg Flegel or his circle. His next dated work, in a private collection in Amsterdam, is from 1612, and is much closer in style to Floris van Dijck's paintings, although the elements within it are packed in tight as if in fear of open table cloth. A painting of 1614, in Prague, National Gallery, shows a loosening and simplification of these elements, and, although the Flemish influence is still much stronger than it is in any of Van Dijck's own works, it is clear that by the middle of the second decade of the 17th Century, Nicolaes Gillisz. had fallen firmly under the influence of Floris van Dijck.

Floris van Dijck exerted an enormous influence over the next generation of still-life painters in Haarlem, in particular Floris van Schooten, some of whose pictures, with decks of cheeses, could almost have been painted in homage to the older Floris.

As Fred Meijer has noted, the objects depicted are a mixture of expensive imports and familiar local wares and goods. The Wan-li porcelain dishes, bowls and plates, imported from China by the East India Company, the façon-de-Venise glass goblets made in Liège or Antwerp in the style of Venetian glass, the late 16th Century earthenware Siegburger kanne, probably made by Christian Knütgen, the gilt mount for the roemer, and the olives and grapes, belong to the former category, while the other foodstuffs are of local origin. Most prominent among these are the three stacked cheeses. The top one is almost certainly a sheep's cheese from the island of Texel known as a Texelse Schapenkaas, which was particularly famous in the 17th Century. Its green colour comes from the method of manufacture: green juice from a reduction of sheep's droppings boiled in a coarse linen cloth was poured into the milk from which the cheese was made, giving it a notably spicy flavour, and helping to preserve it. The cheese is still made, but unfortunately not using the same method. The large cheese on the bottom is an aged cheese known as Oude Kaas, still widely eaten today, especially at breakfast, and in between is a soft young goat's cheese.

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