active in Antwerp 1666-1669
Still Life with a Wan-Li Dish, Fruit, and Bread
Oil on canvas (relined). 35 x 50 cm.
Signed lower right: th. mertens fec..
All that is known of Thomas Mertens' life from written documentation is that he was accepted to the Antwerp guild of St. Luke in 1670. A still life dated 1666 (Sotheby's New York, 22.4.15, lot 11, formerly Galerie Koetser, Zurich) provides a further dated source for his œuvre, localising his carreer to the latter half of the 1660s. Mertens is thought to be the son of Cornelis Mertens, the famous painter of still lifes active in Antwerp, and thus may have been his pupil (cf. A. van der Willigen u. F. Meijer: A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden 2003, p. 141f.). Like his father, Thomas Mertens was influenced by the compositions and choice of motifs utilised by Jan Davidsz de Heems. The present work is a rare example of a signed piece.
We would like to thank Dr. Fred G. Meijer of the RKD in The Hague for confirming the authenticity of this work upon examination of digital photographs.