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Juan van der Hamen y León
Still Life with Sweets and Pottery

oil on canvas
84.5 x 112.7 cm (33 1/4 x 44 3/8 in)
Possibly Diego de Messía Felípez de Guzmán, Marquès de Leganés, Madrid, 1655. [1] Private collection, Florence, by 1950. [2] (Victor Spark, New York), at least 1952 to 1954. [3] (David M. Koetser Gallery, New York, London, and Zurich); [4] purchased 1955 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1961 to NGA. [1] William B. Jordan, Spanish Still Life in the Golden Age 1600-1650 (exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1985: 135), raises the possibility that this painting is identical to one owned by Leganés at his death in 1655. The marquis owned several still lifes by van der Hamen, including one described in his inventory (no. 97) as "otro banquete de la misma mano y tamaño (i.e. 2 baras poco mas o menos de alto y una y media de ancho), con cajas de conserbas, an carastillo de diferentes dulces y brearos" (another banquet of the same hand and size, with boxes of conserves, a basket of varied sweets and drinking cups). As Jordan notes, the dimensions are significantly different from those of 1961.9.75 (84.2 x 112.0 versus c. 167.2 x 135.4). He suggests that a scribe's error may be responsible for the discrepancy. Certainly the vertical dimensions seem excessive for a still life of this type. [2] Roberto Longhi, "Un momento importante nella storia dell 'Natura Morta,'" Paragone 1 (1950): 34-39, pl. 16. [3] Recorded as owner in the exhibition catalogue La nature morte de l'antiquité a nos jours, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, April-September 1952, no. 72, and in Allan Gwynne-Jones, Introduction to Still-Life (London, 1954: 66-67, no. 59). [4] Letter from David Rust to William Jordan, 6 June 1969, in NGA curatorial files.
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