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Lot 29. Nicolaes van Verendael (Antwerp 1640 - 1691), Still life of roses, tulips, Spanish jasmine, morning glories, carnations and other flowers in a glass vase on a ledgesigned lower right: n.v.verendael f, oil on canvas, 39 x 27.8 cm. Lot sold: 100,800 GBP (Estimate: 100,000 - 150,000 GBP). © 2022 Sotheby's. 

Property from the Grasset Collection.

ProvenanceAnonymous sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Co., 19 June 1913, lot 21 (as School of Jan Davidsz. de Heem and listed as signed);
Dr. Leon Lilienfeld (1869–1938), Vienna, by 1917 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem);
Thence by inheritance to his widow, Antonie Schulz Lilienfeld (1876–1972), Winchester, Massachusetts (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem);
Her posthumous sale ('The Collection of the Late Dr. Leon Lilienfeld of Vienna, Sold by the Order of the Executor of the Estate of Mrs Leon Lilienfeld, Winchester, Mass'), New York, Sotheby's, 17 May 1972, lot 50, for $18,000 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem);
With Richard Green, London, 1974;
From whom acquired for the Grasset Collection.

LiteratureG. Glück, Niederländische Gemälde aus der Sammlung des Herrn Dr. Leon Lilienfeld in Wien, Vienna 1917, p. 63, no. 28 (as Jan Davidsz. de Heem and listed as signed), reproduced;
F.G. Meijer, Brueghel to Canaletto, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, exh. cat., San Diego 2016, p. 29, no. 25, reproduced in colour;
S. Thomas, A Feast for the Eyes, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, exh. cat., Saint Petersburg, Florida 2019, pp. 88–89, no. 39, reproduced in colour.

ExhibitedSan Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, Brueghel to Canaletto, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, 2 April – 2 August 2016, no. 25;
Saint Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, A Feast for the Eyes, European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection, 23 March – 2 September 2019, no. 39.

NoteThis well preserved assortment of exotic and local flowers by Nicolaes van Verendael is a signed work dating to around 1671.1 Paintings such as this have been held up as fine examples of the artist's ‘proto-Rococo sensibility’, containing graceful qualities which foreshadowed still-life painting of the next century.2Born in Antwerp in 1640 to the painter Willem van Verendael, the artist joined the Guild of Saint Luke in the city at the age of seventeen. His performances in still life commanded the respect of his contemporaries, as he is known to have collaborated with David Teniers the Younger, Carstian Luyckx, Gonzales Coques and Jan Davidsz. de Heem. Although his works build upon the example set by Daniel Seghers and Jan Brueghel the Elder, Verendael's graceful compositions and naturalistic approach set the foundations for Flemish still lifes for the next century, realised fully in the works of his pupils, such as Jean-Baptiste Morel.

Alongside roses, tulips, Spanish jasmine, morning glories and carnations are more local flowers such as viburnum, periwinkle and honeysuckle. These are contrasted with a brightly coloured marigold and a yellow moth, precariously balanced on the ledge.

The attention to detail in each petal, leaf and droplet is remarkable in its preservation. In observing such fine minutiae, it is clear why Verendael gained a reputation as a slow worker. A few decades after his death the painter Jacob Campo Weyerman (1677–1747) recounted that he had been told that the artist took no fewer than four days to paint a single carnation, a fact which displeased his impatient patrons.3 It is probably for its sheer quality that this work formerly bore a false signature to the more celebrated Jan Davidsz. de Heem, an inscription that survived until just over a century ago. 

The painting is reminiscent of another painting dated to 1671, which was sold at auction in 1984 and was acquired for the private collection of Paul Mellon (according to the RKD).4


Nicolaes van Verendael, Flowers in a glass vase, with insects, on a stone ledge, 1671, signed and dated lower right : ni. v. verendael 1671, oil on canvas, 37.5 x 27 cm reduced somewhat, and mounted upon a larger canvas cm 40.5 x 30.5 cm. Sold at Christie's, New York, 18 January 1984, lot 9© Christie's Images Ltd

The painting's entry in the RKD explains that its dating to 1671 was suggested by Sander Erkens: https://rkd.nl/explore/images/198812 

Stanton 2019, p. 88.

3 J.C. Weyerman, De levens-beschryvingen der Nederlandsche konst-schilders en konst-schilderessen, door Jakob Campo Weyerman, Konst-schider, vol. 3, The Hague 1729, p. 235.

Sold Christie's, New York, 18 January 1984, lot 9: https://rkd.nl/explore/images/197860

Sotheby's. Old Masters Evening Auction, London, 7 December 2022