Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Still Life with Fruit, Glassware, and a Wanli Bowl

Willem Kalf (Dutch, Rotterdam 1619–1693 Amsterdam)
Oil on canvas
23 x 20 in. (58.4 x 50.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1953
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 635
Kalf was perhaps the most influential painter of luxurious still lifes from the 1650s onward, though few other artists approached his refinement. Here the effects of light, texture, and color make the painting itself an object of rare craftsmanship, like the Turkish table carpet, the silver tray, and the late Ming bowl. The fruits have been worn and toned down by past cleanings, and the entire painting has darkened with age.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): W.KALF 1659.
Gräfin von Althann, Austria (?about 1725); by family descent through the eldest daughter in each generation to Martha Freifrau von Schönau-Wehr, née Freiin von und zu Menzingen, Untermünstertal, near Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden (1917–d. 1939); her daughter, Hildegard Freifrau von Kittlitz und Ottendorf, Untermünstertal (from 1939); her son, Wilhelm Freiherr von Kittlitz und Ottendorf, Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden (until 1950; sale, Pfister, Freiburg im Breisgau, October 25–26, 1950, no. 517); [Otto Wertheimer, Paris, until 1951; sold to Knoedler]; [Knoedler, New York, 1951–53; sold to MMA]
Corning, N.Y. Corning Museum of Glass. "Glass Vessels in Dutch Painting of the 17th Century," August 15–October 1, 1952, no. 7 (of paintings; as "Nature Morte," lent by M. Knoedler & Co.).

Fort Worth Art Center. "An Exhibition of Old Masters," January 20–February 6, 1953, no. 9 (lent by Knoedler Galleries, New York).

Indianapolis Museum of Art. "Treasures from the Metropolitan," October 25, 1970–January 3, 1971, no. 71.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 22.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blue & White: Early Japanese Export Ware," November 23, 1976–September 6, 1977, no. 16.

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.

Toronto. Aga Khan Museum. "A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West," June 6–October 18, 2015, no catalogue.

Thomas S. Buechner. Glass Vessels in Dutch Painting of the 17th Century. Exh. cat., Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, N.Y., 1952, pp. 25–26, 30, no. 7, discusses the types of glassware that appear in the painting.

Lucius Grisebach. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. January 27, 1970, provides extensive provenance information.

John Walsh Jr. "Vermeer." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 31 (Summer 1973), unpaginated, fig. 26, compares it to the still life passage in Vermeer's "Woman Reading a Letter" (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden).

Lucius Grisebach. Willem Kalf, 1619–1693. Berlin, 1974, pp. 114–15, 122, 130, 147–48, 156, 158, 254, no. 94, fig. 103, includes it in a group of paintings believed to be painted in Amsterdam between 1656 and 1659, all of which have similar motifs or equally carefully constructed designs.

Martin Lerner. Blue & White: Early Japanese Export Ware. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1978, unpaginated, under no. 9, no. 16, is "almost certain" that the bowl that appears in the painting is a Chinese Wan-li (Ming dynasty) dish; compares it with a dish of the same type also in the Museum's collection (19.136.13).

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 349–50, fig. 628 (color), cites it as an example of the "monumental, even grandiose" later Dutch still-life paintings; notes its opulence and "sensitivity to color and texture".

Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 190, calls its upright composition "the more indigenous Dutch type".

Ivan Gaskell. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Seventeenth Century Dutch and Flemish Painting. London, 1990, p. 70, under no. 9, mentions it in relation to another Kalf still life with a Chinese bowl and glass in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; notes that these motifs appear regularly in Kalf's work.

Fred G. Meijer. The Collection of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Paintings Bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2003, p. 227, notes similar motifs in a still life by Kalf in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; claims erroneously that both paintings show the same bowl.

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 50.

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. xi, 34, 387, 390–92, no. 97, colorpl. 97.

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