Fish, Two Wicker Flasks, Onions and Walnuts
oil, canvas, 73 x 94 cm
NG S 829, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana
The painting represents fish of various types (salmon, herrings), which are arranged in no particular order together with a crab, a bag full of black olives, onions and walnuts, next to two wicker flasks and some cutlery. This is thus a still life which is not decorative and which, without the slightest academic prejudice, shows a scene from everyday life. From the type of food and the way in which it is served (e. g. the bag of olives), we can conclude that this is food for poor people, or people of the lowest strata of society. The attribution of this important painting to Jacob van Kerckhoven was suggested in conversation by Eduard A. Safarik. Previously it had been attributed to the Flemish school, then Fererico Zeri ascribed it to a Lombard artist of the first half of the 18th century. Two oval still lifes (both 63 x 77 cm), undoubtely the work of the same hand, were in the Polleti collection in Milan several years ago. One was Dead Turkey with Onions, a Wicker Flask and a Basket, the other Cabbage with a Crab, Onions and a Frying Pan; these are very similar to our painting. They were attributed to the great Lombard realist Giacomo Ceruti, but more recent literature has not confirmed this.
Preservation: Good. The painting is trimmed at the upper edge.
Restored: 1980, Kemal Selmanović. The damage at the oval edge has been retouched, further also the damage on the dark background in the upper right and on the big fish on the cask.
Provenance: LBG 159; Rogaška Slatina spa, 1903;
Provenance: LBG 159; Rogaška Slatina spa, 1903; Narodna galerija, Ljubljana, 1932, old. Inv. No. 416 (Pieter Sneyers).
Exhibition: 1960, Ljubljana, No. 106; 1983, Ljubljana, No. 44; 1985, Belgrade, No. 28; 1989, Ljubljana, No. 9.
Lit.: Cevc 1960, p. 40, Cat. No. 106 (Pieter Sneyers [?]; Zeri [& Rozman] 1983, pp. 126−127, Fig. 41, V (Lombard School, first half 18C); Zeri & Rozman 1989, pp. 114−115, Cat. No. and Fig. 8; La natura morta in Italia, I, Milan, 1989, p. 356, Fig. 429 (text Eduard A. Safarik).