Laurens Craen (active circa 1643-1664), A lobster, apricots and plums in a wan-li kraak porcelain bowl with a wine glass, an ewer and vine leaves on a partly draped table. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2011
signed and dated 'Laurens Craen.f Ao. 1657' (lower left), oil on panel, 21 x 23 3/8 in. (53.5 x 59.5 cm.) - Estimate $150,000 - $250,000
Provenance: D.C. Thomson; Christie's, London, 21 December 1928, lot 105 (80 gns. to W. Sabin).
Anonymous sale; Drouot (Rieunier-Bailly-Pommery), Paris, 8 June 1998, lot 29, as 'dated 1653'
with De Jonckheere, Paris, Fall 1998, whence acquired by the present owner.
Notes: Craen was active in the middle of the seventeenth century in Middleburg, the center of still life painting and home to the deeply influential Bosschaert dynasty. From 1655 until 1664 Craen was listed as a member of the guild in Middleburg, and his paintings are recorded in sales between 1645 and 1651. His paintings also bear the influence of Jan Davidsz. de Heem who spent much of his career in Antwerp. This picture, with its intensely red lobster shell playing off the richly textured fruits, leaves and table cloth as well as the play of light and reflection on the jug and glass surely derive from de Heem's influential style.
We are grateful to Fred Meijer, of the RKD in The Hague, for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs (private communication, 10 December 2010).
Christie's. Old Master & 19th Century Paintings, Drawings & Watercolors Part I, 26 January 2011, New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com