Johannes Josephus Ignatius van Straaten

Johannes Josephus Ignatius van Straaten (Utrecht 1766 – 1808 Utrecht)

Still-Life with Fruit in a Marble Niche and Still-Life with Fruits and Flowers in a Wicker Basket with Two Blue Tits

Watercolour, bodycolour, black ink framing lines, 426 x 368 mm (16.8 x 14.5 inch) and 429 x 379 mm (16.9 x 14.9 inch)

Indistinctly signed lower left ‘Straa…

~ Auction Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, 25/28 February 1941, lot 77
~ Collection Prof. Dr Frans Eppo Cornelis Scheffer (1883–1954), Voorburg
~ Auction Sotheby Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 22 April 1980, lot 128, repr.
~ Private collection, The Netherlands


These two attractive watercolour still-lifes are rare works by the Utrecht artist Johannes van Straaten. Baptised in July 1766, Van Straaten was taught by his townsman Christiaan van Geelen (1755–1824).1 Van Straaten seems to be active as an artist in oils and watercolour. In addition to the present watercolours, which are the best documented works by the artist, only a few works by Van Straaten are documented, including a still-life with a dead hare and a partridge, dated 1806.2

Due to the rarity of his works, little is known about Van Straaten’s artistic development. These watercolours are indebted to the works of Jan van Os (1744–1808). Van Os specialised in refined still-lifes composed of fruit and flowers, which gained international popularity and were in turn inspired by the works of Jan van Huysum (1682–1749). A typical watercolour still-life by Van Os which is comparable to the present works is preserved in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam (fig.).3 It is likey that such paintings and watercolours were originally made in pairs, for instance juxtaposing still-lifes with mostly flowers and fruits, such as the present drawings.


1. For the artist, see Pieter A. Scheen, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars, 1750-1880, The Hague 1981, p. 501.
2. Oil on canvas, 99 x 77 cm, anonymous sale, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 15 November 1960, lot 385.
3. Watercolour, 451 x 325 mm, inv. no. RP-T-1918-307.