Still Life with a Stoneware Jug, Berkemeyer, and Smoking Utensils

Pieter Claesz (Dutch, about 1597-1661)

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This painting is an example of a vanitas still life—a work that alludes to the transience of earthly life. Several of the objects suggest ephemerality: the fading warmth emanating from the glowing coals, the short-lived pleasure derived from the roll of the dice, and the fleeting sweetness of the wine in the Berkemeyer drinking glass. The pipe, stoneware jug, and shells also reflect the identity of the Netherlands as a global trading center: tobacco had to be imported from the New World, while the jug was probably from the Rhineland, and the shells from the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific regions.

(David M. Koetser, London, England, and New York, New York), in the 1940s;{1}
(Lilienfeld Galleries, New York), date unkown;
Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope, Bloomington, Indiana, by 1947;{2}
given by them to the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in January 1947 (1947.2).

{1} In a letter from David M. Koetser, New York, dated 15 June 1959, regarding another painting in the IMA's collection, Koetser mentions that the Claesz painting belonged to him "in the 1940s;" see Clowes Archive file (C10026).
{2} Letter dated 22 May 1947 from Henry R. Hope to Wilbur Peat, director of John Herron Art Institute, noting that he purchased the painting from Karl Lilienfeld in New York. Letter dated 31 January 1948 from Karl Lilienfeld to Wilbur Peat, indicates that Lilienfeld purchased the painting from "a reliable dealer in London." Both letters in IMA Historical File (47.2).

Object Information

Pieter Claesz (Dutch, about 1597-1661)
creation date
oil on panel
17-1/2 x 23-1/2 in. (panel)
26 x 32 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
William Ray Adams Memorial Collection
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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