Lot 73. Laurens Craen (The Hague (?) circa 1620 - 1670 Middelburg), Still life with a lobster on a pewter plate, lemons, grapes, apricots, oysters and a gold-mounted blue and white porcelain ewer, all on a wooden table top with a swallowtail butterfly, signed and dated lower left: Laurens Craen f. / 1653, oil on panel, 24 by 29 1/2 in.; 61 by 74.9 cm. Estimate 200,000 — 300,000 USD. Lot sold 506,500 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.
Provenance: Anonymous Sale, Paris, Millon & Associés, 8 June 1998, lot 29;
Private Collection, France.
Note: This opulent still life reveals the influence of the work of Jan Davidsz. de Heem and suggests that although Craen was not recorded in Antwerp, he may been apprenticed there in the mid-1640s.1 In fact, very little is known about Laurens Craen's life prior to his appearance in Middelburg in 1649 and only about 20 works can be solidly attributed to his hand. He is first recorded as a member of the Middelburg painters guild in 1654, after trying, apparently unsuccessfully, to offer his services as a painter to Constantin Huygens and the court at The Hague. He was still in Middelburg in 1664 when his wife's death is recorded and his own death is recorded in the registers for 1670.
1. A. van der Willigen and F. Meijer, A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden 2003, p. 68.