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Louyse MOILLON Paris, 1610 - 1696 Still life with fruit, peaches, apricots and plums, one open, on a wooden table Oak panel, one board Signed 'Louyse Moillon' lower right Peaches, apricots and plums on an entablature, oil on panel, signed, by L. Moillon 25.50 x 34 cm (10.04 x 13.39 in.) Provenance: Acquired in Beaune (Côte d'Or) from a secondhand dealer around 1975; Private collection, France, until 2014; Private collection, Brussels Comment: At first glance, this is a simple arrangement of various fruits on a small-format panel, but if we look further, we discover an intimate work in the simplicity of its composition, for their form. From left to right, an open blue plum, two peaches, a plum, an apricot, a peach and a second blue plum. This staggered arrangement gives rhythm and balance to the composition. A dark background from which emerges the foliage of the peach branch, the fruit and, in the foreground, the plum leaf that spills over the edge of the table. It's not one but three still lifes arranged in triangles, one of which is upside down. In our opinion, this is a "preview" of what the artist paints, her repertoire of fruits that she loves and sublimates. The open plum, as in this "still life of peaches and plums in a basket", circa 1634, private collection; the apricot that our artist places on the table is comparable to the "apricots" in the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, signed Louyse Moillon and dated 1634; peaches filled with sensuality and suavity, like these peaches from the first known "Coupe de pêches", signed and dated 1629, private collection. A material as fluffy as it is sensual - the very best of the artist's talent. She blends in with and surpasses contemporaries such as Jacques Linard (1597-1645) and Pierre Dupuis (1610-1682). It has to be said that Louyse Moillon (ci. 1610-1696) received first-rate training, whether from his father (1555-1619), his brother (1614-1673), both painters, or his father-in-law François Garnier (ci. 1600-1658), a still-life specialist who trained him. He had also detected in her a particular aptitude for the art of painting and still life. In her mother's death inventory of August 23, 1630, under the heading 'prisée des tableaux...'......we find in group seven: 'paintings executed by Louyse Moillon, the proceeds of which, after deduction of expenses, will be shared between the author and her stepfather, in accordance with an agreement made on June 30, 1620'. She was only ten and a half years old. These fruits are illuminated from the left, bathing this still life in an almost mystical atmosphere. It's a total bareness, in the image of Protestant rigor, but with a sensuality that's controlled and reserved. Like her whole family, she was Protestant. Long associated with the Dutch school because of the way her works were depicted and executed, she drew her inspiration from everyday life and from observing the works of Flemish, French, Dutch and Italian painters. It's no longer an offering in a basket or a bowl, but individual elements simply placed on a wooden table. This is an elegant demonstration of his skills from the very start of his career. An exceptional painting, even if its format and depiction of the subject remain atypical. This is the one and only known reduced-format painting by the artist. We think we've discovered the "gamut" of his knowledge and skill, in which the mastery of his art shines through. The work will appear in the supplement being prepared for the Catalogue Raisonné Louyse Moillon (Paris, c. 1610-1696) 'La Nature Morte au Grand Siècle. Catalog raisonné', Éditions Faton, Saint-Etienne, 2009. Dr. Dominique ALSINA

paris, France