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Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo (Naples 1629 - 1693), Still Life in a Landscape, with Grapes, Watermelons, Figs and Apples. photo Sotheby's

oil on canvas, 29 1/2 by 40 1/4 in.; 75 by 102 cm. - Estimate 100,000—150,000 USD. Lot Sold 134,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies;
By whom given to an ancestor of the anonymous consignor in
Sale ('Collection T.L.'), Monaco, Sotheby's, 21 June 1991, lot 114 (a pair of paintings);
There purchased by the present collector.

NOTE: At the time of the 1991 sale in Monaco (see Provenance), this painting was sold with its pendant, Still Life in a Landscape with Oranges, Lemons and a Parrot. The pendant painting, which is signed at lower left G. Ruoppoli, was subsequently sold in these rooms on 24 January 2002, lot 24. According to the catalogue entry of the 1991 auction, both pictures were at one time in the royal collection of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies (1751-1825) in the 18th century and were given by him to an ancestor of the consignor in that sale.

Writing in the mid-18th century, the art historian and biographer Bernardo de' Dominici described Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo as one of the great still life painters in Naples and wrote a detailed notizia on his life.1 His works were avidly collected by the aristocracy and wealthy citizens of that city. Several works by Ruoppolo were recorded in the collection of Ferdinand van den Einden, the famous Flemish banker and art patron who lived in Naples.2

Ruoppolo's style shows his awareness of artists from his own and earlier generations. His youthful works reflect the naturalism of other Neapolitans such as Luca Forte and Giovan Battista Recco, as well as his knowledge of the Roman still life tradition harking back to Caravaggio. His mature works became more elaborate and decorative, possibly due to the influence of Abraham Brueghel who came to Naples in 1675.

1. B. de' Dominici, Vite dei Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Napoletani, Vol. III, Naples 1742-45, pp. 292-295.
2. See R. Middione, in C. Whitfield and J. Martineau, eds., Painting in Naples 1606-1705 from Caravaggio to Giordano, exhibition catalogue, London 1982, pp. 240-41.

Sotheby's. Important Old Master and 19th Century Paintings from the Collection of Jacob Elie Safra, 26 Jan 11, New York www.sothebys.com