Although only two of her works are known to survive today, Haverman was celebrated at a young age for her gifts as a flower painter. She studied with the notoriously secretive flower painter Jan van Huysum and later gained admission to the Royal Academy in Paris. The artist’s skill is on full display in this magnificent arrangement of flowers and fruit, in which she used innovative pigments such as Prussian blue. Over time, the organic yellow lake pigment has faded, resulting in the present blue appearance of the leaves. Haverman’s confident signature appears as though incised in the plinth supporting the bouquet.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Fig. 1. Paint sample observed in cross section at 400x magnification under polarized visible light (top) and UV light (bottom), displaying the six-layered preparation applied to panel; this sample, taken from a spot adjacent to a small damage in a red grape, shows the ultramarine blue pigment in the top layer applied over the still-wet red lake layer.
Fig. 2. Infrared reflectogram detail showing that the red grapes at right, initially planned out using loose brushwork, were later shifted to their present location, indicated by the dark, infrared-absorbent contours of the gray pedestal. Image credit: Evan Read, The Met
Fig. 3. Detail of XRF map for copper distribution (left); in this map, the initial copper-containing brushwork of the stone niche can be seen to trace the contours of three clusters of flowers on the left side. These clusters, which were later painted out by the artist in the final composition (right), appear blue through cracks in the surface of the painting.
Fig. 4. Detail of XRF map for mercury (left), showing the distribution of the orange-red pigment vermilion (mercury sulfide). In the upper right corner, three flowers (probably Turk’s cap lilies) which appear to have been painted with a high degree of finish, were painted out in the final composition (right).
Fig. 5. Photomicrograph (observed at 75x magnification) showing a yellow-brown base tone, added in the undermodeling stage, that is visible between brushstrokes in the hollyhock.
Fig. 6. Paint sample, taken adjacent to a damage in a green grape and observed at 500x magnification in cross section under polarized visible light (top) and UV light (bottom), showing the top brown priming layer with as many as seven paint layers above. Opaque and translucent paint is interlayered to produce a luminous quality in the grape.
Fig. 7. Diagram of species depicted, adapted by Jon Albertson from Segal 2007. Flowers and fruit: 1) opium poppy foliage 2) cabbage rose 3) alyssum 4) pot marigold 5) forget-me-not 6) dwarf morning glory 7) white rose 8) lilac auricula 9) red catchfly 10) light blue hyacinth 11) hollyhock 12) passion flower 13) saxifrage 14) meadow grass 15) Maltese cross 16) New York aster 17) Persian tulip hybrid 18) pepperwort 19) tulip “baguette” 20) English iris 21) white hyacinth 22) brown violet auricula 23) feverfew 24) sweet sultan 25) African marigold 26) jasmine 27) apple 28) violet auricula 29) white grapes 30) black grapes. Butterflies: A) heath fritillary B) red admiral. Other insects: c) lesser house fly d) yellow meadow ant e) bluebottle fly f) black ant g) garden bumblebee h) garden snail.
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Title:A Vase of Flowers
Artist:Margareta Haverman (Dutch, Breda 1693–1722 or later)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:31 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. (79.4 x 60.3 cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, 1871
The Picture: A vase of flowers stands on a stone socle, its contents spilling forth from the surrounding alcove. Visible on the heavily shadowed vase, perhaps made of terracotta or gilt bronze, are the plump figure of a reclining putto, vegetable ornamentation, and a grotesque face. The exuberant bouquet, belonging to no particular season, ranges from roses and hydrangeas to Turk’s cap lilies and an opium poppy. A white and maroon variegated tulip crowns the arrangement, its surface dotted with dewdrops, while a butterfly perches on one petal and a housefly on another. Elsewhere, more dewdrops and flies, another butterfly, a snail, and swarming ants animate the still life. Clusters of green and red grapes, along with a peach, rest against the vase, obscuring its foot. Hints of decay, in the form of discoloration, mark the leaves.
As noted by Klara Alen, Haverman’s still life shares a number of features with those of her celebrated teacher, Jan van Huysum. A similar vase, for example, appears in a Van Huysum flower piece in Karlsruhe, and he made frequent use of stone alcoves as foils for overflowing, tulip-crowned arrangements (Alen 2010, pp. 49–51). Haverman shared the size and format of her panel with her teacher as well. The artist nonetheless asserted her individual authorship in the prominent signature on the plinth, a feature that recurs in her only other known surviving work, an arrangement of flowers in a glass vase now on deposit at Fredensborg Palace in Denmark. As described in the Technical Notes, Haverman’s working method also revealed several innovations and departures from the precedent of Van Huysum.
History and Function: In many respects, the New York picture resembles Haverman’s untraced submission to the French Académie royale de peinture et sculpture, as described in the February 1722 issue of Mercure de France. This still life featured a “vase ornamented with bas reliefs…filled with flowers of all seasons, and posed on a marble base, with some fruit, such as peaches, grapes, et cetera . . . ” The writer for Mercure singled out Haverman’s depiction of dewdrops, “which one thinks must fall at any moment,” as well as “the ants, the snails, the butterflies, and all manner of flies” swarming about her still life. The piece presented to the academy featured a single “blade of wheat, and a common little wildflower, with a broken stem, which make a contrast” to the rest of the bouquet, and such features recur in The Met’s painting. The Mercure writer gives the dimensions of the panel as “roughly 30 by 20 pouces,” equivalent to the size of the New York picture. Nonetheless, the writer’s mention of multiple “peaches” and a marble plinth caution against identifying the New York painting with Haverman’s Parisian reception piece. Moreover, Haverman is unlikely to have submitted to the Academy as a proof of her abilities a painting that was prominently dated six years prior. She may simply have repeated certain signature motifs across multiple paintings.
The Artist: Despite her evident skill, relatively little is known about Haverman’s life and work. The city archives in Breda record her Lutheran baptism there on October 28, 1693. Her father, Daniël Haverman, was a native of Oldenburg, now in northern Germany, and employed at the time of his marriage to Margareta Schellinger in 1686 as a “secretary to the King of Denmark” (Alen 2010, p. 10). Le Mercure described her father as a “German gentleman” and her mother as coming from “a very good Amsterdam family.” By 1703, the Havermans were in Amsterdam, where Haverman’s father opened a school for boys. According to Le Mercure, Haverman’s teachers were the Flemish artist Antoon Schoonjans, a history painter and portraitist with ties to the Danish court, and the celebrated flower painter Jan van Huysum. Haverman shared her eventual specialization in still life with a number of other early modern female painters in the Low Countries, such as Clara Peeters (dates unknown) and Rachel Ruysch (1664–1750), as women were generally denied access to study of the nude model during their artistic training.
The main literary source for Haverman’s early life is a passage in Johan van Gool’s 1751 life of Van Huysum. According to Van Gool, Van Huysum was so secretive that he refused to take on any students until Daniël Haverman’s eloquence led him to admit Margareta as a Discipeles (disciple). According to the biographer Haverman’s “tireless zeal and diligence” soon led her “not only to copy [Van Huysum’s] paintings but to paint beautifully from life; even to the amazement of connoisseurs, who came to see her work” (Van Gool 1751, vol. 1, pp. 32–33). Jealous of his pupil’s achievement, Van Huysum is said to have used an unnamed misdeed [slechte daet] on Haverman’s part as a pretext to terminate her tutelage.
On July 25, 1721, Haverman married the widowed French merchant Jacques Mondoteguy in Amsterdam, and she soon accompanied her new husband to Paris. On January 31, 1722, Haverman was admitted to the French Académie royale de peinture et sculpture on the basis of “a picture of flowers and fruits” and received a commission for a further still life, prompting the discussion in the Mercure cited above. Unusually, Haverman was immediately admitted as an académicienne without first being classed as an agréée (Alen 2010, pp. 32–33). Haverman attended the March 28th session of the academy, but her name then disappears from its records. The census of 1730 records a “Mr Mondoteguy” living with his wife and children at Bayonne. No further details about Haverman’s subsequent life and artistic career are known.
Over the years, a rumor has circulated that Haverman was expelled from the Academy for submitting a work by Van Huysum as her own. Its earliest appearance in print appears to be a French-language auction catalogue from 1757, and the rumor may derive from a misreading of Van Gool’s Dutch text, published six years before (Alen 2010, p. 36). The latter’s mention of a scandal that “drove her father into the grave, and the whole household into ruin” is ambiguous and could possibly refer only to her acrimonious relationship to Van Huysum and subsequent marriage with Mondoteguy, not her brief membership of the Academy. Indeed, at the time of her marriage, Haverman declared that she did not know “whether her father…is alive or dead” (Alen 2010, p. 87). Like many other early modern women artists, Haverman’s promising career may have been curtailed by marriage and childbirth. Despite the paucity of her current known œuvre, at least a dozen works attributed to Haverman appear in eighteenth-century auction catalogues. For example, when The Met’s picture appeared in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sales catalogues, it was accompanied by another picture by Haverman, featuring a vase of flowers and a bird’s nest (Segal 2007). But this possible pendant, like the rest of Haverman’s œuvre, is untraced.
Adam Eaker 2019
 This biographical account is indebted to Alen 2010 and Marloes Huiskamp, "Haverman, Margaretha," Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland. URL: http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/vrouwenlexicon/lemmata/data/Haverman [1/13/2014].  Stadsarchief Breda: Collectie DTB Breda, deelnr. 93, Dopen Luthers 1649–1745, p. 44v, d.d. 28-10-1693.  For an introduction to seventeenth-century Dutch women artists, see Els, Kloek, Catherine Peters Sengers, and Esther Tobé, eds., Vrowen en kunst in de republiek: Een overzicht, Hilversum, 1998.  Stadsarchief Amsterdam: DTB, Trouwen, 712, p. 440, d.d. 25-7-1721.  “un tableau de fleurs et de fruits;” A. de Montaiglon, Procès-verbaux de l'Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, 1648–1793, 10 vols., Paris, 1875–92, vol. 4 (1881), pp. 328–32.
Support: Haverman painted this work on a panel made from a single, tangentially-cut plank of walnut (juglans regia). The choice of this type of panel support is interesting, although the implications are not clear. The majority of panel paintings from the Netherlands were made using an oak support until well into the eighteenth century, a preference that is explicitly recorded in contemporary written accounts. However, local species, such as walnut, beech, pine, fir, or lime, and tropical ones like mahogany were also sometimes used. Haverman’s teacher, the famous Amsterdam flower painter Jan van Huysum, mostly used oak and mahogany, but he did paint one pendant pair, now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, on walnut. Walnut may not have been considered as high-quality as a panel made from oak, perhaps in part because high-quality oak has a greater resistance to warping than walnut.
The dimensions of the panel, measuring 31 1/4 by 23 3/4 inches (79.4 x 60.3 cm), are consistent with the majority of Van Huysum’s panel paintings, clearly his preferred format. The only other known signed work by Haverman, currently on deposit at Fredensborg Palace in Denmark from the Statens Museum for Kunst, was painted on canvas and is of different dimensions.
There is a subtle undulation across much of the panel’s surface, and a knot, which was repaired prior to the application of the priming and paint layers, has since caused a deformation on the lower left side. The reverse of the panel was thinned and cradled by Paul Kiewert in Paris, just prior to its arrival at The Met in 1871.
Preparation: The panel was primed with a remarkable total of six overall preparatory layers (see fig. 1 above). The first layer, thin and beige in color, is a mixture of lead white and a small proportion of ocher. Next is a white priming made from lead white and chalk (calcium carbonate). The four uppermost layers are distinct warm brown layers, each containing similar proportions of ocher and coarse-grained lead white pigment. The result of the many priming layers is a remarkably smooth surface texture with no evidence of the wood grain below. The beige ground and at least two of the brown priming layers were also applied to the sides of the panel.
Paint Layers: On top of the brown priming, Haverman began laying out her composition by blocking in the forms for some of the flowers and fruit, then partially indicating the gray stone niche. She used subdued and unmodulated colors in this initial stage: a gray-green for the foliage, light gray for the Baguette tulip and roses, dark orange for the opium poppy, yellow-brown for the hollyhocks, warm beige for the lilac auriculas and a darker tone for the shaded brown-violet ones. In some cases, the brown priming was left visible to act as the base tone for certain flowers, such as the Persian tulip hybrid, whose contours were defined with the gray paint of the background niche.
Haverman demonstrated her creativity by making many alterations to the initial design while working up the final composition. Some of these changes were subtle, like the slight repositioning of the grapes (fig. 2), while others made more fundamental alterations to the composition. For instance, a cluster of blue flowers initially planned for the left side of the painting was ultimately excluded from the final composition (fig. 3). Haverman also refined the composition by making changes in the final stages of painting. For instance, in the upper right corner three red flowers, probably Turk’s cap lilies, had been worked up nearly to completion before they were painted over and replaced with the green stem and leaves of an opium poppy bud (fig. 4).
In a few areas Haverman used the subdued colors of the undermodeling as a mid-tone for certain flowers, like the hollyhocks and auriculas, and it can be glimpsed in areas between thin boundaries of color or through thinly painted passages (fig. 5). Most of the flowers and foliage are worked up economically, using a few thin layers to paint shadows and highlights over a mid-tone, but in some areas there are a remarkable number of applications. For example, the translucency of the green grapes was achieved with up to seven layers, a few applied wet-in-wet and others executed on top of layers which had fully dried (fig. 6). To paint the red grapes she blended ultramarine blue over a still-pliable transparent red lake base to create the delicate hazy bloom so characteristic of this fruit (fig. 1).
Haverman used a wide range of pigments, including lead white, carbon- and bone-based blacks, earth pigments such as yellow and red ochers, brown umbers, and green earth, ultramarine, Prussian blue, vermilion, lead-tin yellow (type 1), Naples yellow (lead antimonate), red and yellow lakes, and a copper-based glaze, mixing and layering these colors to precisely render her subjects. She employed a range of brushstrokes to achieve different visual effects, using recurring short strokes to produce the illusion of a fuzzy surface, as in the hollyhock stems, and long but confident and precise brushwork to portray smooth surfaces, as in the delicate tulip petals.
She varied the thickness of her paint to project forms forward or allow them to recede, adding to the illusion of reality. The highlights of the roses and white hyacinths, for instance, were made using pastose strokes, with thin layers of ultramarine and vermilion added in low relief to suggest the surrounding shadows. The paint handling is always meticulous, indicative of the great care the artist took in painting this work.
The painting is in very good condition overall. The paint layers exhibit only a few small scattered paint losses and pin-point interlayer delamination, as well as some minor abrasions, particularly along the edges. The green grapes have been the most susceptible to damage in the past, perhaps due in part to poor adhesion of the many paint layers present. Some color shifts related to unstable pigments have occurred over time, altering the appearance of the painting. The green foliage, composed of a mixture of Prussian blue, lead-tin yellow, and yellow lake pigments has shifted toward a blue hue as the fugitive yellow lake has faded. The copper glaze used locally on some of the leaves—not as an overall layer—has likely discolored as well, though the full extent of this shift is unclear.The combination of this discoloration and the surrounding faded blue leaves produces an odd visual effect in a painting that is otherwise remarkable in its convincing depiction of flora.
Gerrit Albertson 2019; adapted from the forthcoming article by Gerrit Albertson, Silvia Centeno, and Adam Eaker in Metropolitan Museum Journal 54 (2019)
 See J. Wadum, “Historical Overview of Panel-Making Techniques in the Northern Countries” in The Structural Conservation of Panel Paintings: Proceedings of a Symposium at the J. Paul Getty Museum, 24–28 April 1995, ed. Dardes, K. and A. Rothe, Los Angeles, 1995, p. 150; and J. Wadum and N. Streeton, “History and Use of Panels or Other Rigid Supports for Easel Paintings” in The Conservation of Easel Paintings, eds. Stoner, J.H. and R. Rushfield, New York, 2012, pp. 87, 90.  For more on this subject, see Wadum 1995, p. 150; J. Dik and A. Wallert, “Two Still-Life Paintings by Jan van Huysum” in Looking Through Paintings: The Study of Painting Techniques and Materials in Support of Art Historical Research, ed. E. Hermens, London, 1998, p. 395; and Wadum and Streeton 2012, pp. 63, 87–90.  For more on this subject, see Baetjer 2004, pp. 167, 210.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Margareta Haverman fecit. / A 1716 [date underlined]
Louis Fould, Paris (until 1860; his estate sale, Pillet and Laneuville, Paris, June 4ff., 1860, no. 5, with no. 6 for Fr 2,600); Édouard Fould (1860–69; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 5, 1869, no. 7, for Fr 2,100); [Léon Gauchez, Paris, with Alexis Febvre, Paris, until 1870; sold to Blodgett]; William T. Blodgett, Paris and New York (1870–71; sold half share to Johnston); William T. Blodgett, New York, and John Taylor Johnston, New York (1871; sold to The Met)
Nantucket. Kenneth Taylor Galleries. "Realism," June 26–July 31, 1949, no catalogue?
Wilmington. Delaware Art Center. "Paintings by Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century," May 6–June 17, 1951, no. 15.
Palm Beach. Society of the Four Arts. "Flower Paintings," March 7–30, 1952, no catalogue?
Hempstead, N. Y. Hofstra College. "Metropolitan Museum Masterpieces," June 26–September 1, 1952, no. 18.
New York. Union League Club. "Exhibition from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 23, 1969–January 2, 1970, checklist no. 8.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," December 12, 1981–September 5, 1982, unnumbered cat. (p. 51).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met," October 16, 2018–October 4, 2020, no catalogue.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT.
Louis Decamps. "Un musée transatlantique (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 5 (May 1872), p. 437.
[Henry James]. "Art: The Dutch and Flemish Pictures in New York." Atlantic Monthly 29 (June 1872), p. 763 [reprinted in John L. Sweeney, ed., "The Painter's Eye," London, 1956, p. 65].
Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 16, Leipzig, 1923, p. 162, mentions it as one of three known works by Haverman.
Ralph Warner. Dutch and Flemish Flower and Fruit Painters of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries. London, 1928, p. 88, pl. 39a, tentatively suggests the date to be 1756.
Margaretta Salinger. "Early Flower Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 8 (May 1950), pp. 259–60, ill. p. 256, identifies the flowers depicted, and finds the "bluish unifying tone" to be "artificial though very handsome".
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 47.
Peter Mitchell. Great Flower Painters: Four Centuries of Floral Art. Woodstock, N.Y., 1973, p. 129, fig. 174, as "the best-known example of this rare artist".
Karen Petersen and J.J. Wilson. Women Artists: Recognition and Reappraisal from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. New York, 1976, p. 56, fig. IV, 24, repeats the "jealous" Van Huysum topos as fact, and imagines that the artist was "much maligned".
Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin inWomen Artists: 1550–1950. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. New York, 1976, p. 36, fig. 11, considers the work to demonstrate that Haverman had by 1716 mastered Van Huysum's technique and did not need to deceive the French academy by submitting one of his works as her own.
Ingvar Bergström et al. Natura in posa: la grande stagione della natura morta europea. Milan, 1977, p. 192, ill.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 9, 17, 331, fig. 19 (color).
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 190.
Claus Grimm. Stilleben: die niederländischen und deutschen Meister. Stuttgart, 1988, p. 243, pl. XXXI.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 343, ill.
Marianne Berardi inDictionary of Women Artists. Ed. Delia Gaze. London, 1997, vol. 1, pp. 651–52, ill. p. 650, describes the composition, identifies the flowers, suggests that the metallic blue tone is a result of the removal of tinted spot varnishes, and discusses evidence for a pendant.
Els Kloek et al. Vrouwen en Kunst in de Republiek: een Overzicht. Hilversum, The Netherlands, 1998, p. 144.
Adriaan van der Willigen and Fred G. Meijer. A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525–1725. Leiden, 2003, p. 101.
Katharine Baetjer. "Buying Pictures for New York: The Founding Purchase of 1871." Metropolitan Museum Journal 39 (2004), pp. 182, 210, 244–45, appendix 1A no. 112, ill., clarifies its provenance.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 7, 9, fig. 5 (color).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. xi, 308–10, no. 72, colorpl. 72.
Sam Segal inThe Temptations of Flora: Jan van Huysum, 1682–1749. Exh. cat., Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, 2007, pp. 54–55, 66, 317–20, 345 n. 19, p. 354 n. 2 to F5, p. 360, no. C6, ill. (color) and fig. C6.1 (diagram of flower, fruit, butterfly, and insect species depicted).
Mariël Ellens and Sam Segal inThe Temptations of Flora: Jan van Huysum, 1682–1749. Exh. cat., Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, 2007, p. 22.
Joris Dik inThe Temptations of Flora: Jan van Huysum, 1682–1749. Exh. cat., Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, 2007, p. 69.
Klara Alen. "Margareta Haverman (Breda, 1693/94–Bayonne(?), NA 1722): Schilderend tussen passie en flora." PhD diss., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2010, vol. 1, pp. 3, 36, 42–51, 75, 99–101, no. 1; vol. 2, figs. 1.a–j (color, overall and details).
Katharine Baetjer inÉlisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Ed. Joseph Baillio and Xavier Salmon. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Galeries nationales. Paris, 2015, p. 343 n. 41.
Gerrit Albertson, Silvia A. Centeno, and Adam Eaker. "Margareta Haverman, 'A Vase of Flowers': An Innovative Artist Reexamined." Metropolitan Museum Journal 54 (2019), pp. 143–59, figs. 1, 2, 4–10, 13 (color, overall, diagram, details, and technical images).
Sarah Cascone. "Meet Orsola Maddalena Caccia, the Remarkable Painting Nun Whose Work Just Entered The Met’s Collection in a Surprise Donation." Artnet News. February 4, 2021 [https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/orsola-maddalena-caccia-1941173].
Yuriko Jackall et al. "Greuze’s Greens: Ephemeral Colours, Classical Ambitions." Burlington Magazine 165 (March 2023), p. 273 n. 31.
Paintings Conservation Fellow Gerrit Albertson recounts the recent treatment of a rare Margareta Haverman work in The Met collection now on view in the exhibition In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met.
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