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Jean Michel Picart
Lot No. 93 
Jean Michel Picart
  • Jean Michel Picart
  • Jean Michel Picart
  • Jean Michel Picart

Jean Michel Picart

(Antwerp 1600–1682 Paris)
A still life of a basket of flowers and a mound of fruit on a sculpted stone table, partly covered with a blue velvet, gold-and-silver fringed cloth with drapery and a stone column in the background,
oil on canvas, 115.5 x 159.5 cm, framed

possibly the painting described by Guiffrey in the inventory of King Louis XIV;
with J. Kugel, Paris, 1971 (advertised in Revue du Louvre, no. 3);
sale, Christie’s London, 7 July 2000, lot 45, sold for £ 410,750 (as Jean-Michel Picart in collaboration with Willem van Aelst);
with Richard Green, London;
sale, Sotheby’s New York, 24 January 2008, lot 55, sold for $ 601,000 (as Jean-Michel Picart in collaboration with Willem van Aelst and revised in a saleroom notice to Jean Michel Picart);
with Bernheimer-Colnaghi, Munich/London;
Private collection, Bavaria

M. Faré, Le Grand Siècle de la Nature Morte en France, Le XVIIe Siècle, Geneva 1974, p. 97, illustrated

We are grateful to Fred Meijer for re-confirming that this painting is a fully autographed work by Jean Michel Picart. It is registered in the database of the RKD under no. 71903.

This sumptuous still life represents one of the finest examples of Jean Michel Picart’s work, an artist of Flemish origin who occupied a significant place in Paris during the Grand Siècle. Fred Meijer once attributed the large canvas to Picart in cooperation with Willem van Aelst (1627–1683 circa), a painter from Delft who lived in France between 1645 and 1649. He thought the latter was the author of the composition on the right-hand side of the painting made up of plums and peaches. However, after viewing the present painting in the original (he had previously examined it only from a photograph), he re-attributed the painting entirely to Picart and considered it to be inspired by a Still life painted by Aelst in 1649, and conserved in the Prinsenhof Museum, Delft (53.5 x 65 cm). The subject of the latter is in fact the same, with the small snail at the centre of the composition and a blue velvet cloth partially covering the marble table. Taking into consideration the date of Aelst’s painting, Fred Meijer dated Picart’s Still life to the early 1650s.

In this superb canvas, the artist from Antwerp shows his ability to depict every realistic detail meticulously; from the defects on the fruit peel to the withering leaves, down to the precious cloth covering the table and the curtains in the background. It also shows the painstaking attention to detail that was typical of the great Flemish tradition and, at the same time, the taste for lush nature appreciated in the Paris of Louis XIV. Picart was so admired for these abilities that Félibien included him in his list of “Noms des peintres les plus celebres et les plus connus anciens at modernes” (A. Felibien, Entretiens sur les vies et sur les ouvrages des plus excellents peintres anciens et modernes, Paris, 1666–1668).

This appreciation is also testified by the great success his still-life paintings enjoyed during the second part of the 1600s, when they were sought after by many French collectors and by the Sun King himself who, in the 1670s, appointed him as court painter. Numerous works by the Flemish painter were in fact kept in the royal palaces of Versailles and Marly, as reported by an inventory of the period, which cites a still life that can be identified with the present painting.

Specialist: Mark MacDonnell

Jean Michel Picart
Convert currency
  • realized price**
    EUR 393,400
    USD 448,500
  • estimate
    EUR 120,000 to 160,000
    USD 137,000 to 182,500

Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm (CET)
+43 1 515 60 200


Old Master Paintings
Date: 25.04.2017, 17:00
Location: Palais Dorotheum Vienna
Exhibition: 15.04. - 25.04.2017

**Purchase price incl. all charges, commissions and taxes

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