Collecting: the blooming market for Dutch floral paintings

by AryanArtnews
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“I read that one photo a lot. Color diffusion, richness, and symbolism,” said the collector and city head of the first flower still life purchased by 17th-century Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Elder. Hunter Frank Holmeyer says. This is a painting of a large flower around a central cartouche by Abraham Fundy Penbeck, found in one of Sotheby’s Old Master’s sales during the financial crisis of 2009. For painting. ”

A still life belonging to Peter Castell III. It sells for £ 15,525 at Period Portraits.

Still life paintings of flowers from the golden age of Dutch painting have reached a cultural moment, flower designers (including Emily Thompson, Thierry Boutemie, Mark Colle), advertising campaigns (Gucci and Loewe), photographers. (Old Masters, often quoted by Nick Knight). It all fuels a renewed interest in works that have been carefully observed and meticulously drawn since the days when hundreds of practitioners worked prolificly to meet the unprecedented demand for art. “If you’re looking for a really nice still life, you don’t have to wait long,” says Clementine Sinclair, Head of Old Masters Evening Sales at Christie’s.

1670 vase painting by Abraham Brueghel, sold at Rafael Vals Gallery for £ 48,000

1670 vase painting by Abraham Brueghel, sold at Rafael Vals Gallery for £ 48,000

Jan Van der Roost's work is on sale at Bijl-Van Urk for € 40,000 (after restoration)

Jan Van der Roost’s work is on sale at Bijl-Van Urk for € 40,000 (after restoration)

This genre grew rapidly in the Netherlands in the 17th century, funded by a fast-growing merchant class enthusiastic about displaying its wealth. “Artists sold directly from the studio or through dealers,” Sinclair adds. “And the market for more domestic paintings, cabinet pieces with a high level of detail, has flourished.” With the introduction of exotic seeds in the Netherlands, interest in floral painting exploded. .. In 1590 Leiden was formed as one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. By the early 17th century, Ambrosius Boschart and Elder Jan Brueghel had pioneered a golden age on an ambitious scale. A painting of a magnificent bouquet master. It is often characterized by a fantastic combination of specimens that never bloom at the same time in nature. This summer, Sotheby’s showed Bruegel’s oldest dated Flemish flower painting (estimated £ 2.5 million to £ 3.5 million) – with c1605 oil, almost the entire canvas is hyacinth, daffodil, baimo, iris, tulip. , Filled with peony, lilies, roses, narcissus.

Fleurs (Août), 2016, Steven Meisel, Loewe SS17 Campaign

Fleurs (Août), 2016, Steven Meisel, Loewe SS17 Campaign

What to read

Dutch and Flemish flower works Sam Seagull and Clara Allen (Brill)

Dutch flower paintings, 1600-1720 Paul Taylor (Dulwich Picture Gallery or Yale University Press)


Ashmorian, Oxford

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Wallace Collection, London

Where to buy

Johnny van Heften Beaufort House, Ham Street, Ham TW10 7HL

Rafael Vals 11 Duke Street, London SW1Y 6BN

Early works of the time tended to be symmetrical, stylized and formal, but later artists such as Jan van Eyck, Jan van Eyck and Rachel Ruysch were more natural. It became a principle. The demand for Rachel and other female painters of that era has skyrocketed. Earlier this year, Sotheby’s doubled its low estimate by selling an exquisite 1698 still life of Rachel for about $ 2.2 million.

Beyond the most prominent practitioners, there are more affordable works, but even within the work of one artist, there can be significant price differences. Swag painting of roses, ivy and butterflies by Daniel Seghers sold at Christie’s this summer for £ 40,000. In 2019, two still lifes of two bouquets featuring roses, tulips, irises and columbines by the same artist were both sold in excess of 500,000, doubling the projected cost.

Still life-inspired flower exhibition by Ann Demeulemeester by Thierry Boutemie

Still life-inspired floral display by Thierry Bootemi for Ann Demeulemeester © @ Nicola.Be

These major differences offer a fascinating opportunity for collectors who are willing to hunt, such as Holmeyer, who has been collecting works for the past decade. “For £ 30,000 or £ 40,000, you can get something from a phenomenal artist whose paintings are displayed in most of Europe’s major art galleries,” he says. “What can you buy for that in the modern market?”

Toby Campbell, Director of Rafael Valls, agrees: He currently has a wonderful 1670 painting by Bartholomeus van Winghen depicting a vase of spring tulips, peony, lilac, sweet pea and jasmine, and a painting of roses, primroses and jasmine by Abraham Brueghel of the same year. increase. In a jar (£ 48,000). Similarly, Dutch Bijl-Van Urk gallerist Sander Bijl recently painted a small single stem of wild roses, poppies, hyacinths and chrysanthemums by Jan Van den Hecke, who sponsored Grand Duke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. I got a picture of a flower. Governor of Spanish Nederland (sold for € 40,000 after restoration).

Balthasar van der Asto's

Balthasar van der Asto’s “Wanli Porcelain Fruits on the Table” sold by Christie’s for £ 350,000

Interior changes have also helped popularize these Old Masters, as they appear to sit more comfortably in relaxed classic rooms by designers such as Rose Uniac. Notice the Old Master hanging in the elegant and discreet Uniac interior of Nigel Slater. “More and more clients are looking for still lifes of flowers, but they tend to mix their work with modern interiors and contemporary artwork,” says now blue and white tulips, roses, daffodils and flower China bowls. Nick Cox of the dealer who has the agreement. It belongs to Pieter Casteels III (£ 15,525). A similar oil dated 1715 was sold by Hampel Fine Art Auctions this summer for € 19,430.

Moreover, these still lifes are increasingly freed from annoying frames. “I’ve long thought that many Old Master paintings were suppressed by their frames,” Toby Campbell claims. “When you take a picture out of the frame, you suddenly start a new life. When you hang it in a modern space, it can look extraordinary.”

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