Thomas Mertens (Active in Antwerp circa 1666), Still life with fruit and oysters on a table, signed and dated upper right: Tho. mertens. fecit 1666., oil on panel, 9 1/2 by 13 5/8 in.; 24 by 34.5 cm. Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD. Lot sold 43,750 USD. Photo Sotheby's.
Provenance: David Koetser, 1989.
Exhibition: David Koetser Gallery, Winter Exhibition 1989-90, no. 24, reproduced in color in the catalogue;
New Orleans 1997, no. 27;
Baltimore 1999, no. 25.
Bibliography: J. de Maere and M. Wabbes, Illustrated Dictionary of 17th-Century Flemish Painters, Brussels 1994, p. 264, cat. no. 773;
New Orleans 1997, pp. 66-67, cat. no. 27;
Baltimore 1999, p. 61, cat. no. 25;
A. van der Willigen and F. Meijer, A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden 2003, pp. 141-142.
Notes: This simply arranged still life with fruit and oysters was the only work by Theodoor Mertens known to Jan de Maere when he published it in 1994 (see Literature). Since then, Fred Meijer has published the picture as a youthful work by the artist (see literature), and a small number of pictures given to Mertens have appeared on the art market. These include another signed work (oil on canvas, 34¼ x 43¾ in.) sold, New York, Christie's, 4 June 2009, lot 76. Additionally, a copy of the present picture, which in turn follows a 1650 composition by Jan Davidsz de Heem (private collection, Switzerland), was offered for sale in London, Christie's, 12 December 2003, lot 84.
Mertens, who was active in Antwerp in the 1660s, was clearly influenced by Jan Davidsz de Heem, as well as Joris van Son, with whose his technique and preference for smooth finishes are readily apparent in this panel.
Sotheby's. The Weldon Collection, New York, 22 avr. 2015