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Friday, March 9, 2012

Offering of the Day: A Detailed Floral Still Life by an Exceptionally Fine Dutch Painter Jean-François Eliaerts (1761-1848)

Jean-François Eliaerts (1761-1848)
Still-Life with Flowers 
Gouache on board
Board size: 24 x 30 inches
Framed: 30 x 36 inches

Jean-François Eliaerts was among the exceptionally fine Dutch painters working in Paris in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  His renown was such that he became Professor of the Institute of the Legion d'Honneur at Saint-Denis, and exhibited regularly in the prestigious Paris Salon from 1810 to 1848.  This dramatic still-life illustrates the artist's unique and fluid combination of the Dutch and French styles, as Eliaerts had unparalleled talent for capturing and harmonizing natural detail.   

Eliaerts is especially notable for having imported the Dutch still-life style of the mid-eighteenth century into France.  Still-life painting in Holland had always been at the forefront of the genre, and the innovations of Dutch painters were transmitted throughout Europe by the movements of peripatetic artists like Eliaerts.  French still-lifes had always shown the combined influence of Italian and Netherlandish prototypes, but in the mid-seventeenth century the Netherlandish influence intensified in France, in part because of the many Flemish and Dutch artists who lived in Paris.  In the Netherlands the sumptuous, asymmetrical flower-pieces with strong diagonals by Willem van Aelst and Rachel Ruysch marked a new compositional type, which was widely varied and refined in the eighteenth century by Eliaerts (among others).  Eliaerts, in turn, was instrumental in spreading the influence of this style in France, by virtue of both the many paintings he exhibited at the Salon, and his influence on art students at the Institute of the Legion d'Honneur. 

Set in a complex background, this compositionally complex still-life is an example of Eliaerts's finest work.  The subtle variety of hues, variety of flowers and intricate surroundings make it an engaging original work by this esteemed artist.

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