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Isaac Soreau

Still life with basket of grapes, bowl of brambles and bunch of flowers on a table

Panel: 49,2 x 65,7 cm

introduction

Isaac Soreau loved to paint nature. Using an incredibly meticulous technique, this painting perfectly conveys the craze for naturalistic paintings during the Golden Age. Still lifes were highly successful and were much sought after by art-lovers and other collectors. The increase in gardens, the trade in new varieties of exotic flowers, the publication of botanical collections and scientific advances, such as the perfecting of the microscope, all had repercussions on artistic circles where emulation was very much in vogue. Placed on a table in front of a plain dark background, a magnificent rattan basket is filled with bunches of grapes. It is worth taking the time to contemplate the lighting effects on the delicate pictorial surface, comprised of fine successive layers which create a translucency and high quality finish.

The painter could have simply depicted one type of grape. But instead, he chose to demonstrate his skill by painting several colours of grape, from the lightest to the darkest. Using a trompe-l’œil technique, the pinkish skins reveal the flesh and the pips. The same systematic care is applied to the other motifs. The small Chinese porcelain bowl contains beautiful juicy brambles. It counterbalances the bunch of flowers placed in a blown-glass rummer decorated with small bulbous ornamentations. And let us not forget the presence of insects, regular guests among these arrangements from the plant world.

The corpus associated with Isaac Soreau was formed on the basis of the painting "A dish of grapes and bowl of brambles", kept at the Staatliches Museum Schwerin in Germany. Bearing the inscription "I. Soreau 1938", it allowed specialists to better grasp the painter’s work. An almost identical version to ours is exhibited in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and all these panels have the little Chinese porcelain bowl in common. Another example can be admired in the Sabauda Gallery in Turin. The "Still life with a basket of grapes on a table covered in fruit", or the "Still life with bowl of wild strawberries and vase of flowers", which passed through our gallery, are other examples of the brilliant and delicate art of master Soreau.

Provenance :
Private collection, Bordeaux, 1840;
Private collection, England, 1974 - 1984;
Sale Speelman, London, 1987;
Private collection, United States.

Littérature :
BOTT G., "Stillebenmaler des 17 Jahrhunderts: Isaak Soreau, Peter Binoit", in Kunst in Hessen un dam Mitterlrhein, Darmstadt, 1962;
BOTT G., Die Stille benmaler Soreau, Binoit, Codino und Marell in Hanau und Frankfurt 1600-1650, Hanau, 2001, p. 177;
GREINDL E., Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Sterrebeek, 1983, pp. 69 and 383.

Expositions :
The Inspiration of Nature, John Mitchell & Sons, London, 27 October – 13 November 1976, pp. 50 – 51;
On loan for the upcoming exhibition: Geneva, Foundation Baur, Le Bleu des Mers, November, 2017.