oil on canvas unframed: 80.7 x 61 cm.; 31 ¾ x 24 in. framed: 109.5 x 89 cm.; 43 1/8 x 35 in.
Essay: This captivating piece, originating from the studio of the revered Dutch artist Jacob Ochtervelt, mirrors the composition of a signed and dated 1669 canvas by Ochtervelt that is presently housed in the Hermitage museum. Its subject, "The Grape Seller" immerses us in a typical 17th-century interior, replete with characters from various strata of society.
At the center, a fruit vendor is depicted bending over to weigh grapes for the buyer. A child hands some of the grapes to her mother to taste, their attentive maid standing by. The backdrop showcases typical Ochtervelt details: a hint of the city visible through the doorway, light filtering in through an overhead window, and a playful dog at their side.
The exquisite quality of the piece is evident in the minutiae, such as the intricate detailing of the mother's earring, which in reality spans only a few millimeters yet boasts impressive attention to detail. Initially, Sotheby's considered this work to be an autograph piece by Ochtervelt. But due to some uncertainty, it was auctioned as Workshop of Jacob Ochtervelt. On the other hand, the esteemed Cabinet Turquin in Paris leans toward attributing the piece directly to Jacob Ochtervelt himself.
The painting is framed in an authentic period frame, which has been delicately restored by Stockholm's Förgyllning och Bildhuggeri. The frame retains its age-old patina and, while in used condition, has minor imperfections adding to its charm.
Another interesting thing worth to mention is the painting's provenance. It was once owned by the 1st Viscount Rothermere (1868-1940), the founder of the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. As one of the wealthiest individuals in Britain during his lifetime, Viscount Rothermere amassed a remarkable art collection. This painting was included in the book "Works of Art in the Collection of Viscount Rothermere" where its illustrated in black and white and expertise by Wilhelm Bode.
Provenance: Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere (1868-1940) (Daily Mail founder), London, 1932; His posthumous sale, London, Christie's, 19 December 1941, lot 89 (as Ochtervelt); With Dr. F. Drey, London, before 1946; Gösta Stenman, Stockholm, 1947 (as Ochtervelt); Thence by descent until sold, Stockholm, Stockholms Auktionsverk, 10 December 2019, lot 2476 (as Attributed to Ochtervelt by Cabinet Turquin); Sotheby's London, Sale L20037, Old Master Day Sale, lot 155, (as Workshop of Jacob Ochtervelt)
Literature: P.G. Konody, Works of Art in the Collection of the Viscount Rothermere, London 1932, cat. no. 53, reproduced pl. 53 (as Ochtervelt) (see attached image with text by Wilhelm Bode); G. Stenman, Gamla Tiders Mästare, Stockholm 1947, p. 22, cat. no. 48, reproduced pl. 26 (as Ochtervelt); S.D. Kuretsky, The Paintings of Jacob Ochtervelt (1634-1682), Oxford 1979, p. 76, cat. no. 54-A, reproduced fig. 131.
Condition: Recently carefully cleaned by our art conservator in Stockholm. Only surface cleaning, the old varnish is still there.
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