Reproduction French early 20th C Artist’s frame, painted
Like the 17th century Dutch still life paintings which are this work’s forebears, it may be read in several ways. At one level it is a collection of objects, arranged in a satisfying group of diverse forms and textures, with a balanced overall harmony of colour; purely aesthetic and ornamental (although a challenge to paint). At another it is a celebration of luxury: the champagne and glasses, silver slider, silk-lined tie and Tiffany’s jewellery box, set on a silver table-top before a stuccoed wall, are as redolent of wealth as the Venetian glass, silver-gilt tazze, silk carpets and displays of exotic fruits and fish in paintings by Willem Kalf, Pieter Claesz, and Abraham Beyeren. It is also underpinned by an amorphous sense of story; as in Claesz’s Still life with peacock pie we wonder who has sat down to and then left such a sumptuous banquet, so with Rose’s painting we try to construct the occasion – is the tie waiting to be worn, or discarded? has the party happened, bequeathing the balloon? – then why is the champagne still to be drunk? Finally, there is the characteristic 17th century awareness of human frailty and evanescence in this display of wealth, set against the bubble-like transience of a balloon.