Hendrick van Streeck

(1659 - Amsterdam - 1720)

A Still Life with a Nautilus Cup, Citrus Fruit and a silver "plooischotel" (pleated dish)

Signed, lower left: H v Streek / f
Oil on canvas, 27½ x 23¼ ins. (70 x 59 cm)
Framed: 37¾ x 33¼ ins. (96 x 84.5 cm)
CS0443


Provenance

With Gallery Lasson, London, 1965
Private collection, the Netherlands, until 1997
Thence by descent
Private collection, England, 1997-the present day


Literature

The Connoisseur, October 1965. 



Exhibited

London, Gallery Lasson, 16th, 17th and 18th Century Old Masters, 20 October – 8 December, 1965 (as Juriaen van Streeck)



Essay

An artfully balanced group of costly objects and pieces of fruit appears on a stone ledge, draped with a gold-fringed velvet cloth.  Tilted slightly forward at the front edge is a silver plooischotel (pleated dish) bearing an orange and a partly peeled lemon.  Behind it stands a nautilus cup, some more citrus fruits, a peach, a flour-dusted bread roll, and two fine drinking glasses, each containing a small quantity of wine.  The dark interior is lit by a strongly focused beam of light that sparkles and gleams on the highly polished surfaces of the various glass and metal vessels. 

The son of the still-life painter Juriaen van Streeck (1632-1687), Hendrick was born in Amsterdam in 1659 and worked there for most of his life.  Like his father, Hendrick was strongly influenced by the still lifes of Willem Kalf (1619-1693), who worked in Amsterdam from 1653 until his death in 1693.  The younger artist adopted Kalf’s predilection for dark spaces with spotlit displays of fruit, porcelain, silver and glass.  In this painting, the choice and arrangement of objects, as well as the vertical format all recall the work of Kalf.  Also like Kalf, is the concentration on the effects of light falling on a relatively few carefully selected items.  Nonetheless, van Streeck achieves a highly personal interpretation of the genre.  His handling of paint and his treatment of light and textures are quite different from the older master. 

To a seventeenth-century viewer the collection of objects depicted here would have suggested considerable wealth and luxury.  Citrus fruits were expensive produce at the time, and the elaborately crafted silver dish would have been highly valued both for its precious material and fine workmanship.  Nautilus shells were imported into the Netherlands from far-off lands and were set in complex silver, or silver-gilt mounts, to produce elegant drinking cups.  Whether or not such an opulent display was intended to serve as a reminder of the transience of earthly possessions remains debatable, but the luxury items clearly reflect the affluent lifestyle of wealthy Dutch merchants during the Dutch Golden Age. 

BIOGRAPHY

The son of the still-life painter Juriaen van Streeck, Hendrick was born in Amsterdam in 1659.  According to Arnold Houbraken, who knew the artist personally, Hendrick learned drawing from his father and wood sculpture from Willem van der Hoeven (1653-1727).  Houbraken also reported that he studied with the painter of church interiors Emanuel de Witte (c. 1617-1692), in whose house he also lodged for a while.  On 19 March 1683, Hendrick married Maria van Hockom in Amsterdam: the couple had three children, including a son, Coenraat van Streeck (1683-1757), who became a sculptor.  In 1694-96 Hendrick van Streeck was working as a sculptor in Alkmaar, where he was involved in the decoration of the town hall. He was buried in Amsterdam on 19 December 1720. 

Hendrick’s principal subjects were church interiors in the style of de Witte and still lifes that are stylistically closely related to those of his father.