Separated Balthasar van Ast Stitched Back Together

April 30 2021

Image of Separated Balthasar van Ast Stitched Back Together


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Cynthia Osiecki, Curator of Old Masters, Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design in Oslo, Norway, has penned an article for CODART.NL giving an introduction to the collection of paintings at the museum.

Amongst the most interesting sections discusses research undertaken on the museum's Balthasar van Ast's (1593/1594-1657) Still Life with Fruit and Shells created between 1620 and 1632 (left). Conservation of the work had revealed "traces of flowers and cherries at the edge of the painting, indicating that this basket of fruit must once have been larger."

According to Osiecki's article:

The examination made it clear that the work had once been one of Van der Ast’s larger horizontal paintings that display fruit and flowers on a table. An initial search into its provenance revealed that the painting’s previous owner, Frederick Conrad Bugge, bought it in its current state as ‘anonymous’ at some point between 1824 and 1829. But that other paintings by Van der Ast had fallen victim to being split up in this way only became clear to me when I studied the Aachen exhibition catalogue Die Stillleben des Balthasar van der Ast (1593/94–1657) from 2016. It was there that I found a painting marked as a fragment which matched the traces on our panel.

With the help of the director of the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum and CODART member Peter van den Brink I managed to track down the private owner and confirm with our conservator that the paintings had most likely once belonged together. In the near future, we hope to confirm this by non-invasive research and display the works side by side after they have spent more than 200 years apart.

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