The J. Paul Getty Museum

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

Object Details


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


Jean-Siméon Chardin (French, 1699 - 1779)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



68.6 × 58.4 cm (27 × 23 in.)

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Object Description

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.


Ruskin Galleries (Birmingham, England)


Frost & Reed (London, England)


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.]


M. Knoedler & Co. (New York), founded 1846, dissolved 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.

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

Freedberg, Sydney J. The Sources of Modern Painting, exh. cat. (Boston: Institute of Modern Art, 1939), p. 26, no. 9, ill.

Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York. Important Examples of Modern Art [...] The Entire Collection of Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan. December 6-7, 1939, pp. 86-87, lot 185, ill.

"The Sullivan Collection." The Magazine of Art 32, no. 12 (December 1939), pp. 710-11, ill.

"A Notable Auction of Modern & Other Art: The Collection of Mrs. Cornelius J. Sullivan." The Art News 38, no. 8 (November 25, 1939), p. 10, ill.

Rosenberg, Pierre. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Chardin (Paris: Flammarion, 1983), p. 115, no. 3, ill.

William Doyle Galleries, New York. Important 17th & 18th Century English and Continental Furniture and Decorations Including Old Master Paintings [...]. January 25, 1989, p. 12, lot 80, pl. IV.

Roland Michel, Marianne. Chardin (New York: Abrams, 1996), pp. 176-77, ill.

Rosenberg, Pierre, and Renaud Temperini. Chardin: Suivi du catalogue des oeuvres (Paris: Flammarion, 1999), pp. 151, 184, 281, no. 91, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 127, ill.

Malaguzzi, Silvia. Food and Feasting in Art. Brian Phillips, trans. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), p. 282, ill.

Rosenberg, Pierre, et al., eds. Chardin: Il pittore del silenzio, exh. cat. (Ferrara: Ferrara Arte, 2010), pp. 198-99, no. 65, ill., entry by Pierre Rosenberg.

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

Rosenberg, Pierre, et al., eds. Chardin, 1699-1779, exh. cat. (Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011), pp. 206-7, no. 65, ill., entry by Pierre Rosenberg.

Allan, Scott, Davide Gasparotto, Peter Björn Kerber, and Anne T. Woollett. Masterpieces of Painting: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), pp. iii, 13, 100, ill.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




How to Draw a Still Life

Lesson in which students learn about still life paintings and write a detailed description of a still life.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Three/Five-Part Lesson