Lot 135. Jacob Rotius (Hoorn 1644 - 1681/82), Festoon of fruit and flowers, with butterflies and other insects, oil on canvas, 79.1 x 66.5 cm.; 31 1/8 x 26 1/8 in. Estimate 60,000 — 80,000 GBP. Lot sold 68,750 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
Provenance: With Leger Galleries, London, June 1968;
From whom acquired by the previous owner, 1969 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem).
Literature: The Geijutsu Shincho Magazine, February 1969, p. 3, reproduced.
Notes: The biographer Arnold Houbraken records that Jacob Rotius was a pupil of both his father Jan, in his hometown of Hoorn, and the great Jan Davidsz. de Heem in his old age, in Utrecht.1 It is also likely that Rotius spent time in Amsterdam with Willem Kalf, whose influence is particularly evident in his early works. This painting, formerly attributed to de Heem, contains many elements characteristic of Rotius' master - the flowers in various stages of bloom, the ripe, open pomegranate, and the subtle use of light which renders the flowers and fruits in the utmost three-dimensionality. The blue silk ribbon is also a detail inspired by de Heem's hanging bouquets, and was frequently used by another of his late pupils, Abraham Mignon.
We are grateful to Fred G. Meijer of the RKD, The Hague, for endorsing the attribution to Rotius on first-hand inspection of the painting and for dating it to the 1670s.
1. A. Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, vol. II, Maastricht 1719, p. 11.
Sotheby's. Old Masters Day Sale, London, 07 Jul 2016