At a €2.7m (£2.45m) hammer price, a 17th century Flemish flower painting was the toast of the Old Master picture results in Paris this year. It was also the highest price recorded at the Drouot auction centre so far for 2019.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Anne Crane
The 11½ x 7½in (29 x 19cm) oak panel painting was offered on June 19 in a sale of works from the collection of Madame Michel Binoche that was held by Fraysse & Associés in association with Binoche et Giquello (26.6/22/12% buyer’s premium).
It was painted by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1673-21), is monogrammed and shows a rich variety of flowers placed in a northern style drinking glass, or roemer, set on a ledge against a landscape backdrop.
Bosschaert was the first artist to place his flower studies against a landscape.
Only around 60 of these flower studies are known, all belonging to the later period of the artist’s career between 1619-21. Of these, just eight, including this one, are set against a landscape ground in this way.
Many of the flowers, which are rendered with botanical accuracy and include specimens from across all the seasons, would have carried a symbolic religious significance at the time (the rose without thorns symbolising universal love, for example, or the carnation Christ’s Passion)
This hitherto unpublished painting had a provenance back to the 1890s when it was acquired at a Drouot auction by a Monsieur Marc as a ‘Velvet Breughel’ (one of the monikers given to Jan Brueghel the elder) as detailed by a label on the back. Subsequently it remained in the family of Maitre André Benoist (d.1969), passing down by descent.
The price led half-a-dozen individual premium-inclusive results of over €1m that helped to take the Drouot’s half year turnover figure to €201m for the 569 sales held in the first six months of the year.