Lot 2949. Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606 - Antwerpen 1684), Still life of oysters, fruits and a rummer. Oil/cradled panel, signed upper right JD Heem (ligatured), 31 x 43 cm. Sold: €170,000 (Est: €220,000 - €250,000)© 2021 Nagel Auctions.

Jan Davidsz. de Heem, who was born in Utrecht (1606), raised in Leiden and moved to Antwerp at the age of 30, was also a mediator between Dutch and Flemish art. He combines Dutch restraint in com-position and colouring (up to the 1930s) with strong Flemish colors and, not infrequently in the later works, exuberant and lush picture arrangements. In the table presented here, the "Dutch element" certainly predomi-nates: a delicately graduated palette of gray-brown and green tints with the yellow accent of a lemon. The simple utensils, a pewter plate, five oysters opened (four empty, we are coming to the end of the meal), in front of a half-filled wine glass, a few pale peaches on a brown wooden table in front of a plain background wall. As if the light had just moved, from the top left, incided through a hidden window, and had this modest meal separated from the gray-brown spotted wall, poured over with light, to disappear again with the passing of a cloud. But now we see on this table, lightened for a few seconds, a very thin slice of lemon (bitten into!), leaned left against the edge of the pewter plate, the diffuse reflection of the yellow fruit on the plate, the water droplets on the silvery shimmering edge and the twofold blinking reflection of the window cross in the inner wall of the rummer. A rather quiet still life, with tiny details set in scene masterfully. Fred Meijer dates the small panel in 1634, shortly before the artist’s moving to Antwerp. He compares it in his thesis from 2016 with the Still Life with Lobster in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Meijer, Fig.A041).

Nagel Auction. Fine Arts & Antiques - Part II, 16 December 2021