Willem van Aelst
Glass Vase with Roses, Iris, Marigolds, and Tulips in a Niche
Oil on canvas (relined). 52.5 x 45 cm.
Signed and dated lower centre: W. v Aelst 1659.
Trained in Delft by his uncle Evert van Aelst (1602-1657), Willem van Aelst decided to specialise in still lifes. In this work he presents a selection of naturalistically arranged rare and magnificent blooms in a glass vase. Typical of his works are his shimmering surfaces, cool, silvery colour palette, and atmospheric use of light.
The delicate stems bow under the weight of the luscious flowerheads, petals fall softly on the cold stone slab. Flowers, leaves, and stems twist in every direction, testifying to Aelst's brilliance in depicting foliage from all angles in great detail. This work was painted three years after Aelst's return from Italy, where he had spent almost eight years following his time in France, where he resided from 1645-1649. Whilst in Italy, he had collaborated with the still life painter Otto Marseus van Schrieck and received commissions from Cardinal Giovan Carlo de' Medici.
Confirmed by Fred Meijer as a characteristic work by Willem van Aelst (4.11.2008)
Kunsthandlung Scheidwimmer, Munich, 1983. - Private collection, Germany.