A painting of a basket of flowers from the early 17th-century is about to be sold at an auction in December. The untitled work is by Clara Peeters, a Flemish painter who was written out of art history for centuries.
The flower still life itself has not been seen in public for over 100 years, and has never appeared in any art or art history books. Overall, very little is known about Peeters life.
The painting is a beautiful realistic work showing roses, carnations, tulips, and many other flowers in a wicker basket sitting on a ledge. It also features a little butterfly and cricket within the foreground.
According to Chloe Stead, of Sotheby’s which is selling the painting, Peeters painting is done on copper, giving the piece an “enamel-like luster.”
Stead believes the painting could be sold at around £500,000 to £700,000 (more than $700,000 USD).
“Peeters was forgotten for such a long time. There is a remarkable lack of detail known about her life, which is tantalizing given the extraordinary quality of her paintings,” Stead said.
According to Stead, Peeters’ paintings were previously recorded as being from outside of Antwerp, with other indications suggesting that she was a successful artist. In her lifetime, she painted around 40 works, and the still like of flowers about to be auctioned has been in a private collection in Belgium since 1928.
“Her paintings were quite prized objects and were being passed around. Which makes it so remarkable that she – like so many of her female contemporaries – were, over the centuries thereafter, written out of art history. And only rediscovered and reassessed in the mid-late 20th century,” Stead said
The painting will be sold alongside another natural-themed still life of apricots, peaches, and plums in a porcelain bowl by artist Louise Moillon in 1634.
Stead said: “Moillon’s paintings are sublime. She’s an expert in texture, and it’s the contrast in this painting between the cool white of the porcelain bowl and the lovely fuzzy surface of the apricots and peaches that is such a treat.
“She’s got a larger oeuvre [than Peeters] but a lot of her paintings are in private collections in France. And so she’s a name that we see less often. It’s a beautiful picture.” It has an estimate of £600,000 to £800,000.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.