Thursday, 5 April 2018

"Flemish School" still life is work by or close to Jacob van Hulsdonck

Mercier, from France, sells on 15 April 2018 a "Flemish School, early 17th century" still life, estimated at a hefty 35,000 to 40,000 Euro. 

It looks to be by or after Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582-1647), an early and important painter of such still lifes. The basket, the plums with their distinctive colour pattern, the pairs of cherries, ... The painting seems to have been cut down at the top and bottom though.

The "basket of plums and cherries" from the Orléans Museum is especially close, and aspects like the two pale plums at the top are nearly identical. It is clear that the work for sale is either by or after van Hulsdonck.

If it is by Van Hulsdonck, it is worth considerably more than the estimate, as his comparable works often go for a few 100,000 Euro instead (although being cut down at the 4 sides will again reduce the price probably).

UPDATE: a reader alerted me to a Christie's 2017 auction where this work was sold as a "Circle of Van Hulsdonck", estimated £5,000 to £8,000, and sold for £8,125. To again sell it a few months later without the correct attribution but for more than 4 times the price takes some guts! The prior sale of course seriously diminishes the chances that this one will fly.

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