A Still-Life by van Spaendonck Donated to the Frick Collection

Gerard van Spaendonck (1746–1822)
Bunch of Grapes with Insects
on Marble Table
c. 1793
Oil on Marble - 30 x 34 cm
New York, The Frick Collection
Photo : Michael Bodycomb

6/11/12 - Acquisition - New York, The Frick Collection - The Frick Collection recently announced the donation of a still-life by Gérard van Spaendonck, presented by the collector Asbjorn R. Lunde. The artist represented a bunch of grapes with the minute attention to detail charectiristic of Northern European art, showing the drops of dew on the leaves, ants, a ladybug and a fly, as well as the veins in the marble on which the grapes lie. The contrast of textures - the soft skin of the fruit, the hard surface of the marble - is underscored by the fact that the ensemble is a monochrome of greens and beiges, enhanced by a neutral background. The work is painted on marble, not unusual for this artist and imparts a particular glow to the pictoral surface, while at the same time playing on different levels of reality. This work apparently has a companion piece, a still-life with peaches whose whereabouts are unknown.
Several of these paintings have come onto the art market, representing like here a bunch of grapes or peaches. On 26 January 2006, Sotheby’s for example, offered a version on canvas, while elsewhere two types of fruit are presented together in less understated, more emphatic compositions such as the one at Christie’s on 9 December 1994. Gérard van Spaendonck was known above all for his sumptuous floral paintings, both graceful and precise, in the vein of Van Juysum then followed by Van Dael and also his brother Cornelis van Spaendonck.
Gérard Van Spaendonck settled in Paris around 1768 and lived there until his death. He was appointed miniature artist to the king, with a successful exhibition at the Salon of 1777 and subsequently admitted to the Academie. He collaborated in the famous "Vélins du Roi" and obtained the chair of natural iconography at the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle, having the famous Pierre Joseph Redouté among his many students.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, jeudi 8 novembre 2012

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