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Still Life with a Tray of Peaches on a Slab, with Grapes, Plums and Mushrooms



Paul Liégeois (0-0)
Still Life with a Tray of Peaches on a Slab, with Grapes, Plums and Mushrooms
oil on canvas
AGLC 325 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

There are no extant written records to tell us about the life of Paul Liégeois, but his signature  appears on numerous still lifes, among which one  was dated to 1661 and two to 1666. The stylistic  features of this painter, who most probably came  from Liège, place him between the realist painters  with their rigorous compositions, such as Louise  Moillon (1610-1696), Lubin Baugin (c. 1612-1663)  or Jacques Linard (1597-1645), and those, more  decorative in the second half of the 17th century,  such as Pierre Dupuis (1610-1682), who sought to  animate their artworks. The inventory taken after  the death of the painter Philippe de Champaigne  (1602-1674) mentions a fruit still life painted by  Liégeois, and his name appears in many other inventories  of great 17th-century collectors, such as  François de Boyer de Foresta, Seigneur de Bandol,  in 1680; Simon Lenfant, counsellor of the Parliament  of Aix; J.-P. Picard, Marquis de Joyeuse-Garde,  dean of the Parliament of Aix; and Jacques Bailly  (1659-1736), Painter to the King. Today, works by  Liégeois can be found in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence,  the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, the  Louvre in Paris and the fine arts museums in Besançon,  Chambéry, Dijon and Rouen.

All we know of Liégeois are his still lifes, essentially  fruits and in particular peaches, apples, grapes and  plums. He tackled, with a good deal of talent, these  pieces of fruit in cold colours with fabrics of often  acidic colours, sometimes fringed in gold, and by  placing them in plates or baskets, or directly onto a  stone or marble slab. The extreme sharpness of the  contours of the fruit and the leaves is one characteristic  of his work. Liégeois was certainly influenced by  Willem van Aelst (1625 or 1626 – c. 1683), the Dutch  artist who lived and worked in Paris before 1650,  but he had a taste for tighter, more symmetrical  compositions, which are reminiscent of his French  contemporaries. Thanks to the effects of the light,  Liégeois ushered in the most spectacular still lifes  of the next decades, becoming an obvious link between  Moillon and Dupuis. This painting in the A. G.  Leventis Collection reflects all of Liégeois’ qualities by  its exploration of colour contrasts and the sparkling  light that bring out in particular the plums and the  pears. The combination of the fruit depicted seeks  to underscore the effect of the light on each one of  them, playing with the yellow of the pears, the blue  of the plums, the orange of the peaches and the  white of the mushrooms and the grapes. 

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About the artist

Little is known about this French still-life painter, who was probably from Liège and was active in Paris inthe mid-17th century. He appears to have been successful, particularly with depictions of fruit, as his nameappears in the inventories of several notable collectors of the time.

More paintings of the artist
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