Still Life: Tea Set

Object Details


Still Life: Tea Set


Jean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702 - 1789)




about 1781 - 1783


Oil on canvas mounted on board


37.8 x 51.6 cm (14 7/8 x 20 5/16 in.)

See more

See less

Chinese porcelain and tea-drinking were the rage of fashionable Europe when Jean-Étienne Liotard was born. He began painting tea and coffee sets in the last two decades of his life when age, changes in taste, and his political beliefs caused a decline in requests for the pastel portraits that were his specialty. He had, however, been including fruit and porcelain still lifes in some of his portraits since about 1740. Only five of his paintings of tea and coffee sets are known today.

In this painting of tea-time disarray, a tray is set with six cups and saucers, a teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug, and a lidded vase perhaps containing an extra supply of tea leaves. A large bowl holding a teacup and saucer could also be used for dumping the slops of cold tea and used tea leaves. By the time Liotard painted this work in the late 1700s, tea-drinking had become fashionable among the middle as well as the upper classes. Liotard contrasted the luxurious materials of Chinese porcelain and silver with a cheaper tray of painted tin, known as tôle, that imitated Asian lacquer. Combining the transparent, reflective and brightly-patterned objects allowed the artist to portray strong visual contrasts.

by 1933 -

Private Collection (possibly Gutmann) (The Netherlands)

by about 1936 - by 1939

Fritz B. Gutmann, died 1943 (Huize Bosbeek, Heemstede, The Netherlands), handed over for safekeeping to Paul Graupe & Cie., by 1939.

- 1939

Paul Graupe & Cie. (Paris, France), possibly passed to Art Gallery André Weill, possibly for safekeeping, 1939.

by 1939 -

Art Gallery André Weill (Paris, France), passed to Cornelius Postma.

Cornelius Postma (Paris, France), consigned to Manteau (Cloots) Gallery.

- 1944

Manteau (Cloots) Gallery (Paris, France), sold through Hans W. Lange (Berlin, Germany) to the Führersmuseum.

1944 - 1945

Führersmuseum (Linz, Austria), restituted by the Allied Forces to the Stichtung Nederlandisch Kunstbezit, 1945.

1945 -

Stichtung Nederlandisch Kunstbezit (The Hague, The Netherlands), restituted to Bernard Goodman and Lili Vera Collas Gutmann.

after 1945

Bernard Goodman, died 1994

after 1945

and Lili Vera Collas Gutmann

in 1954

Fischer (Zürich, Switzerland)

in 1954

and Chichio Haller (Zürich, Switzerland)

Firmenich (Geneva, Switzerland)

Dunand Family, by inheritance to Anne Dunand.

- 1984

Anne Dunand (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Het Stilleven (February 18 to March 26, 1933) (Cat. 51)
  • Goudstikker Gallery, (Amsterdam), February 18 to March 26, 1933
Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen 1400 - 1800 (June 25 to October 15, 1938) (Cat. 195)
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), June 25 to October 15, 1938
Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen (November 13, 2001 to February 3, 2002) (Cat. 118)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles)
Imagining the Orient (October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005) (Cat. 118)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005
Steeped in History: The Art of Tea (August 2 to November 29, 2009) (Cat. B.3)
  • Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA, (Los Angeles), August 2 to November 29, 2009
Jean-Etienne Liotard (July 4, 2015 to January 31, 2016) (Cat. 79)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 24, 2015 to January 31, 2016

Catalogus der Tentoonstelling 'Het Stilleven' ten bate van de Vereeniging 'Rembrandt' in de zalen van den Kunsthandel J. Goudstikker, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Den Kunsthandel, 1933) unpaginated, no. 195, fig. 51.

Trivas, Numa. Catalogue raisonné of the works of Jean-Etienne Liotard (unpublished typescript), 1936, Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire p. 435, no. 312.

Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen 1400-1800: Tentoonstelling van schilderijen en teekeningen uit particuliere verzamelingen in Nederland, exh. cat. (Rotterdam: Museum Boymans, 1938) pp. 48, 126, no. 195, ill.

Ottema, Nanne. Chinese Ceramiek: Handboek geschreven naar aanleiding van der verzamelingen in het Gemeentelijk Museum Het Princessehof te Leeuwarden (Amsterdam: J.H. de Bussy, 1943; rev. ed., Lochem: Tijdstroom, 1970) pp. 115-16, 147, no. 73, ill.

Lunsingh Scheurleer, D. F. Chinese Export Porcelain: Chine de Commande (New York: Pitman, 1974) p. 103.

Loche, Renée, and Marcel Roethlisberger. L'opera completa di Liotard (Milan: Rizzoli, 1978) p. 121, no. 351, pl. 61.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." The Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985) pp. 266, 268, fig. 103.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985) p. 214, no. 149, ill.

Leonard, Mark. "Notes on the Restoration of Jean-Etienne Liotard's 'Tea Set'." The J. Paul Getty Musuem Journal 13 (1985) pp. 130-31, figs. 1a-b.

Lippincott, Louise. "Liotard's 'China Painting'." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985) pp. 121-30, figs. 1a-f.

Roethlisberger, Marcel. "Jean-Etienne Liotard as a Painter of Still Lifes." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985) pp. 119-20, fig. 23.

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987) p. 65.

Hiller, Bevis. "Tea at the Getty: Two Museum Paintings Hold Interest for Collectors of Fine China." Los Angeles Times Magazine, April 26, 1987 p. 53, ill.

Roethlisberger, Marcel. "The Unseen Faces of Jean-Etienne Liotard's Drawings." Drawing 11, no. 5 (January-February 1990) p. 98.

Gruber, Alain, ed. L'Art décoratif en Europe: classique et baroque (Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 1992) p. 309, ill.

Montagni, Loredana Pessa. Giacomo Boselli: cultura e cenio di un ceramista del Settecento (Genoa: Sagep, 1994) pp. 25-26, ill.

Stafford, Barbara Maria. Artful Science: Enlightenment Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual Education (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1994) pp. 79, 81, ill.

Apgar, Garry. L'Art singulier de Jean Huber: voir Voltaire (Paris: A. Biro, 1995) p. 167, fig. 95.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 74, ill.

Fayet, Roger. Das Bild des Kaffees: Beobachtungen in Kunst und Alltag (Zurich: Johann Jacobs Museum, 1998) pp. 18-19, fig. 6.

Stafford, Barbara Maria. "The Visible Invisible." M.A. diss. (The Open University, 1999) pp. 79, 81, fig. 63.

Stafford, Barbara Maria, and Frances Terpak. Devices of Wonder: from the World in a Box to Images on a Screen, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2001) pp. 32-33, 374, no. 118, ill.

Tea Drinking in the West, exh. cat. (Nagoya: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2001) pp. 19-20, fig. 10.

Blackwell, Mark, ed. The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-Narratives in Eighteenth-Century England (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2007) cover ill.

Roethlisberger, Marcel, and Renée Loche. Liotard: catalogue, sources et correspondance. 2 vols. (Doornspijk: Davaco, 2008) vol. 1, figs. 628 and 631; vol. 2, p. 573-75, no. 435.

Trumble, Angus. "Tea and the Conversation Piece." In Steeped in History: The Art of Tea, exh. cat. Beatrice Hohenegger, ed. (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2009) pp. 155, 157, fig. B.3.

Walker, Corinne. "Le luxe et le pouvoir, ou l'art de la distinction à Genève aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles." In Post Tenebras Luxe Donatella Bernardi, ed. (Geneva: Labor et Fides, 2009) p. 35, ill.

Musée Cognacq-Jay, ed. Thé, Café ou Chocolat? Les boissons exotiques à Paris au XVIIIe siècle, exh. cat. (Paris: Paris-Musées, 2015) pp. 88-89, fig. 44, ill.

Education Resources

Education Resource




Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 1

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students define the genre and practice watercolor technique.

Visual Arts


Two-Part Lesson

Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 2

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students create a still-life painting in watercolor from direct observation.

Visual Arts


Two-Part Lesson

Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 3

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students paint a still life in an opaque medium and write an artist's statement.

Visual Arts


Two-Part Lesson

Asian Influences Curriculum

Language through Art (Beginning)

Lesson in which students study artwork and vocabulary related to things for meals.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12; Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Still Life: Tea Set (Art Tasting)