Still Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougères, Pots, and Cruets on a Table

Object Details

Title:

Still Life with Fish, Vegetables, Gougères, Pots, and Cruets on a Table

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-Siméon Chardin (French, 1699 - 1779)

Culture:

French

Date:

1769

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

68.6 x 58.4 cm (27 x 23 in.)

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Nobody has a greater understanding of the harmony of color and reflections. Ah, Chardin, what you grind on your palette is not this color or that, red, black, or white, but the very substance of things.

Jean-Siméon Chardin impressed critic Denis Diderot with his unique style and impeccable technique, which he applied to what was then considered a lowly genre, the still life. Exemplifying what Diderot noticed in his paintings, Chardin here transforms a simple kitchen scene with a subtle palette, innovative composition, and virtuoso brushwork.

The objects' arrangement is spare but dynamic: Two mackerels hang vertically in front of a plain background, perpendicular to an arrangement of food on the tabletop below. Brilliant light directs the eye, attracting attention to the shiny fish, leafy greens, root vegetables, a wheel of cheese, and covered bowls. Although the overall palette is subdued, the oil and vinegar cruets are infused with rich color. The signature and date in the lower right corner are the last Chardin is known to have applied to a still life.

Provenance

W. Douglaston, Esq.

Ruskin Galleries (Birmingham, England)

Frost & Reed (London, England)

1937

Palser Gallery (London, England)

- 1939

Mary Quinn Sullivan, 1877 - 1939 (New York, New York) [sold, Sullivan sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, December 6-7, 1939, lot 185.]

Knoedler & Company, 1846 - 2011 (New York, New York)

- 1989

Madeline A. Werner (New York, New York) [sold, Werner Estate sale, William Doyle Galleries, New York, January 25, 1989, lot 80, through Stair Sainty Matthiesen to the Phoebe Cowles Revocable Trust.]

1989 - 2003

Phoebe Cowles Revocable Trust (San Francisco, California), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.

Exhibitions
Sources of Modern Painting (March 2 to April 9, 1939) (Cat. 9)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 2 to April 9, 1939
Chardin: Il pittore del silenzio (October 17, 2010 to May 29, 2011) (Cat. 65)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), February 28 to May 29, 2011
Bibliography

Martineau, Paul. Still Life in Photography, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 9, ill.

Related Media
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    Audio: Still Life With Fish