Still Life with Ewer, Vessels and Pomegranate

Object Details


Still Life with Ewer, Vessels and Pomegranate


Willem Kalf (Dutch, 1619 - 1693)






Oil on canvas


104.5 x 80.6 cm (41 1/8 x 31 3/4 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Luxury objects, such as the ornate Mannerist ewer, steeple cup, and elegant glass vessels, are carefully arranged on a table in this Dutch still life. An open pomegranate and a bowl of fruit rest on white drapery. To the right, a lemon and three olives are reflected in a silver plate that rests precariously on the table's edge. Behind this, a platter holds a tankard whose elaborate polished surface reflects the adjacent wineglass. Light falls from the left, playing across these precious objects and causing them to glitter and shine.

Willem Kalf delighted in the play and contrast of transparent and reflective surfaces: the finely wrought metal of the ewer, the representation of smooth glass, the weave of the linen drapery, the dry crumbly texture of the bread, and the wet, shiny insides of the open pomegranate. At first glance, this still life implies an absence of human presence. But a closer look reveals just the opposite. The torn bread, half empty glass of wine, sliced fruit, and overturned glass allude to human intervention, as if these lavish delicacies were abruptly left on the table.

- 1918

Georg Krakau (Berlin, Germany) [sold, Krakau sale, Lepke, Berlin, November 12, 1918, lot 44.]

by 1921 - still in 1922

Jacques Goudstikker, 1897 - 1940 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

by 1926 - 1936

Anton W. M. Mensing, 1866 - 1936 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1936 - 1938

Estate of Anton W. M. Mensing, 1866 - 1936 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Mensing sale, Frederik Muller & Cie. (direction de Mensing et Fils), Amsterdam, November 15, 1938, lot 51, to J. Paul Getty.]

1938 - 1954

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976 (Malibu, California; Sutton Place, Surrey, England), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954.

No Title Given (1921) (46)
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, (Brussels), 1921
Hollandsk malerkunst (1922) (63; lent by Goudstikker)
No Title Given (1922) (46)
Nederlandsche stillevens uit vijf eeuwen (1926) (61)
  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, (The Hague), 1926
The Balch Collection and Old Masters from Los Angeles Collections, Assembled in Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch (March 26 to April 30, 1944) (Cat. 48)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), March 26 to April 30, 1944
Cinco siglos de obras maestras de la pintura en collecciones norteamericanas cedidas en préstamo a Costa Rica (May 6 to June 30, 1978) (19)
  • Museo del Jade, (San Jose), May 6 to June 30, 1978
Ars et Ingenium: The Illuminator's Craft and Genius (July 26 to October 9, 1994) (19)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 26 to October 9, 1994

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 30, 122, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 117, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 56.

Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum, rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 56.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 56.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 142.

Broos, Ben, et al. Great Dutch Paintings from America, exh. cat. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, 1990), p. 312, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 66, ill.