Still life with fruits and flowers, oysters, mussels, a glass of wine and a decanter

JAN VAN OS (1744-1808)

Still life with fruits and flowers, oysters, mussels, a glass of wine and a decanter

1744 Netherlands

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Jan van Os moved to The Hague at an early age where he was apprenticed to Aart Schouman (1710-1792). In 1773 he became a member of the painters’ club Pictura. Two years later he married the deaf-mute pen portraitist Susanna de la Croix, daughter of French portraitist Pierre Frédéric de La Croix (1709-1782), who was also a deaf-mute. Their son, Pieter Gerardus (1776-1839) and their daughter, Maria Magrita (1780-1862) were Jan’s pupils and became accomplished landscape and still life painters respectively.

Jan van Os started his career as a seascape and landscape painter, following in the manner of Jan van de Capelle and Willem II van de Velde. However he is better known for his portrayal of fruit and floral still lifes. He acquired an international reputation for his still lifes; his work was valued highly in England where he exhibited at the Society of Arts, London from 1773 to 1791, and in France and Germany. Van Os’ work is well represented in international museums, for example; Fruit, flowers and a fish, 1772 and Fruit and flowers in a terracotta vase, 1777-78, are in the collection of the National Gallery, London.

Van Os’s asymmetrically composed pyramidal still lifes are often set on a marble or stone ledge, against a pale green landscape background (for example; Flowers and Fruit at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague) and echo the style of Jan van Huysum (1682-1749). The Colnaghi picture is a fine example of his work, exquisitely executed with attention to every small detail, such as the small beads of water on the leaves. With their crowded compositions, lighter colours and light backgrounds, van Os’ paintings allude to classical architecture and garden settings and reflect eighteenth-century taste.

We are grateful to Fred Meijer of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Domentatie, The Hague for confirming the attribution, based on photographs.

Height 42.00 cm (16.54 inches)
Width 34.60 cm (13.62 inches)
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left: J Van Os Fecit
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