French School, 17th Century, Vanitas still life with a whisk broom, an hourglass, a burning candle, playing cards, dice, an open letter and other objects. photo Sotheby's
oil on canvas, 29 3/4 by 22 1/4 in.; 75.6 by 56.5 cm. Inscribed on the letter: Omnia Vana and on the upturned playing card: Jean Hemav. Est. 40,000—60,000 USD Lot Sold 68,500 USD
PROVENANCE: Oscar and Maria Salzer, Los Angeles;
By whom given to the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science,1983 (Acc. FMM 82.32).
EXHIBITED: Los Angeles, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California; Seattle, WA, Seattle Art Museum; Honolulu, HI, Honolulu Academy of Art; Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Reality and Deception, 16 October 1974 – 20 April 1975, cat. no. 33, reproduced (as Jean Hemau);
Columbus, OH, Columbus Museum of Art; West Palm Beach, FL, Norton Gallery of Art, More Than Meets the Eye: The Art of Trompe l'Oeil, 7 December 1985 – 27 April 1986, cat. no. 19, reproduced p. 70 (as Jean Hemau);
Nagoya, Nagoya City Art Museum; Bunkamura, The Bunkamura Museum of Art; Hyogo, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Visual Deception, 11 April 2009 - 3 November 2009, cat. no. 27, reproduced p. 65 (as Jean Hemau).
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Portraits of Objects, Oscar and Maria Salzer Collection of Still Life and Trompe-L'Oeil Paintings, Fresno 1984, cat. no. 22, reproduced (as Jean Hemau).
NOTE: This painting was long mistakenly attributed to Jean Hemau, the name inscribed on the banderole of the playing card. Hemau was, in fact, one of the earliest makers of playing cards. He was active in the early 17th Century in Epinal, a town on the Moselle River in northeast France that was an early center of print making, including the printing of tarot and playing cards. The artist of this work has given us a highly accurate representation of Hemau's unique card designs with the lozenge pattern on the top side and his signature yellow banderole on the face cards.
Sotheby's. Old Master Paintings. 03 Jun 10. New York www.sothebys.com