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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Still Life with Cherries

Still Life with Cherries


Balthasar van der Ast

Dutch, 1593/94 - 1657

Man-made and natural objects balance in exquisite harmony in this still life of summer fruits and insects. The perfectly ripe cherries, some still on the branch, are vibrant against the crisp decoration and hard surface of the Chinese Wanli porcelain bowl. Two velvety peaches and an apricot share the stage with outdoor creatures—a caterpillar, grasshopper and painted lady butterfly—all safely domesticated by the painter’s sure hand.

Van der Ast was the brother-in-law of still-life painter Ambrosius Bosschaert, whose work is also shown in this gallery.

--Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, “European Master: The Treasures of Seattle,” February 14-May 19, 2013
Oil on wood panel
22 x 25 1/2 in. (55.9 x 64.8 cm)
Gift of Theiline Scheumann's children, including Jeff and Korynne Wright, in honor of their mother
Provenance: Private collection, Sweden; [Christie’s, London, Anonymous sale (“The Property of a Lady”), Apr. 9, 1990, lot no. 6]; purchased at auction jointly by [Johnny van Haeften, London, England] and [Richard Green, London, England]; sold, via [Johnny van Haeften, London, England] to Phoebe Cowles, San Francisco, California, 1991; sold to Theilene Scheumann (1931-2022), Seattle, Washington, after 2000; Grousemont Foundation, Seattle, Washington, 2022; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2023
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, SAM at 75: Building a Collection for Seattle, May 5 - Sept. 9, 2007.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, European Masters: The Treasures of Seattle, Feb. 14 - May 19, 2013.

Published ReferencesSegal, Samuel. “An Early Fruit Piece by Balthasar van der Ast.” Still Life Studies. Amsterdam, 1990; reproduced.

Roelofsz, Charles, ed. A painting of 1617 by Balthasar van der Ast: a guild masterpiece? Amsterdam: Kunsthandel Charles Roelofsz, 2002; p. 9, reproduced fig. VIII.

Ishikawa, Chiyo, ed. A Community of Collectors: 75th Anniversary Gifts to the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2008; pp. 18-19, reproduced pl. 1.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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