Jan Frans van Dael (Antwerp 1764-1840 Paris), ‘Fritillaria imperialis, roses, tulips, morning glory, an anemone, auriculas, irises and a passion flower in a stone vase on a ledge of red marble, with poppies and butterflies’, signed and dated ‘Van dael / l’an 3ème‘ (lower left), oil on canvas, 29 1/8 x 23¾ in. (74 x 60.5 cm.). Estimate $150,000 – $200,000. Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2015
Provenance: Baron Eugène Fould-Springer (d.1929), Palais Abbatial de Royaumont, Asnières-sur-Oise, France, and by descent; sale, Christie’s, Paris, 19 September 2011, lot 48 (€109,000), where acquired by the present owner.
Notes: Jan Frans van Dael was one of the leading still-life painters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After training as an architectural draftsman at the Antwerp Academy, he relocated in 1786 to Paris, where he shifted his focus to painting. He quickly won several important commissions, including contributions to the decorative programs at the châteaux of St. Cloud, Bellevue and Chantilly. He frequently exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1793-1833, to great acclaim. Beginning in 1796, he resided in the artists’ accommodations at the Louvre, where he encountered many leading still life painters such as Pierre Joseph Redouté and Gerard van Spaendonck, with whom he trained.
This elegant still life demonstrates Van Dael’s consummate skill in rendering the different textures of his flowers, from the waxy surface of the variegated tulip, to the delicate petals of the peonies. The entire composition is bathed in a soft, even light, allowing his meticulous treatment of every detail to be enjoyed to its fullest. Fred Meijer of the RKD in The Hague has examined the painting in person, and dates it to the artist’s early period, from 1794/95, in which the painter tended to incorporate darker backgrounds into his still lifes. Van Dael’s inclusion of the poppy plant that seems to grow into the lower right corner, as Meijer notes, appears to be a completely unique compositional device, and it is no wonder that this highly individual approach makes such a lavish impression on today’s viewer, just as it did in the artist’s own lifetime.
Christie’s. OLD MASTER PAINTINGS PART I, 28 January 2015,New York, Rockefeller Plaza