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 Eycken, Jean-Baptiste van (Belgian artist, 1800-1861), The Fruit Seller

Core Record

Title The Fruit Seller
Collection Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Artist Eycken, Jean-Baptiste van (Belgian artist, 1800-1861)
Previously attributed to Eycken, Jan Baptist van (Belgian artist, 1809-1853)
Date Earliest about 1840
Date Latest about 1850
Signed yes

Since 1931 the Russell-Cote's painting of A Fruit Seller by Jean-Baptiste van Eycken (1800-1861) has been attributed to the artist's younger, better-known, cousin Jan Baptist van Eycken (1809-1853), who specialised in religious paintings in the classical baroque manner. The misattribution of the Russell-Cotes painting is typical of the fate suffered by the elder van Eycken's work.

This painting colourfully represents an everyday exchange. The scene is framed by an arch through which we see an elderly woman seated on a wooden chair with her back to us, her gestures draw our attention to her stall filled with baskets of oranges and apples. Before her stands a young woman offering payment from her purse which she holds in her left hand while over her arm she caries a full tin fruit carrier. She is dressed in a lace bonnet and black shawl, a costume typical of about 1840-50, which provides an approximate date for the painting. In the distance we see the roof tops of a town, while the foreground of the painting is filled with the fruit seller's provisions, a kettle warmed by embers, a tea pot and a loaf of bread.

Current Accession Number BORGM 2161
Former Accession Number 475
Inscription front lr 'J.B. van Eycken'
Subject everyday life; figure
Measurements 39.5 x 34.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Miss M. den Duyts, 1931.
Principal Exhibitions Bournemouth Town Hall, 1963.
Publications Bulletin of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, vol. 10, no. 3, September 1931.

Jean-Baptiste van Eycken was born in Brussels where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Under the influence of his teacher Hellemans, his first exhibited works were landscapes and town views. From 1824 he painted largely small scenes of daily life which apparently aimed to capture a passing moment in time rather than present a moralising narrative in the traditional manner of genre painting. His paintings are characterised by a good-humoured sympathy for their subjects.

The identity of Jan-Baptist van Eycken has been eclipsed by that of his younger cousin, Jean-Baptiste van Eycken, who specialised in religious painting styled after Raphael and the Italian baroque masters, which he studied in Paris in 1837 and in Italy when he travelled there in 1838. On returning from his travels he became a professor of drawing at the Brussels Academy and became a prominent figure in Belgian society. His elder cousin's genre paintings have been erroneously attributed to him.

Rights Owner Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth
Author Francesco Nevola



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