Overview

Abraham Mignon united this sumptuous floral piece through the free-flowing rhythms of flowers, fruits, and grains, all tied together with a blue satin bow. The various shapes and vivid colors complement one another with easy naturalness, proof of Mignon’s exquisite sense of design. Paintings of hanging bouquets had their origins in the Catholic church’s practice of decorating altars with garlands of live flowers. Mignon’s stunning array of textures certainly validates an early biographer’s observation that the artist was "especially diligent."

After training in his native Germany, Mignon moved to Utrecht where he probably worked in the studio of Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606–1684), who resided in Utrecht from 1667 to 1672, before returning to Antwerp. Mignon consequently adopted De Heem's "Flemish" taste for rich color and complex design.

Inscription

lower left: AB (in ligature) Mignon f.

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Private collection, England;[1] (John Mitchell & Son, London); purchased November 1961 by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia; gift 1992 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Bibliography

1961
The Connoisseur 147 (June 1961): vii, color repro.
1965
Pavière, Sydney H. Floral Art - Great Masters of Flower Painting. Leigh-on-Sea, 1965: 32, color repro. 34.
1973
Kraemer-Noble, Magdalena. Abraham Mignon, 1640-1679. Catalogue Raisonné. Leigh-on-Sea, 1973: 53, no. B142 (noted by the author as "probably not genuine").
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 172-174, color repro. 173.

Conservation Notes

The support is a single, vertically grained oak[1] board with thin wood strips attached to the edges, which are beveled on the back. The lower right corner is chipped and worn. Thin opaque paint is applied over a thin, smooth, pale gray ground in layers blended wet-into-wet with slightly impasted highlights.[2] Red underpaint is visible in the blue flower near the center and may be present in other areas as well. Abrasion is extensive, particularly in the background. In 1994 the painting underwent treatment to consolidate flaking and remove discolored inpainting and varnish.

 

[1] The wood was analyzed by the NGA Scientific Research department (see report dated August 1993 in NGA Conservation department files).

[2] The pigments were analyzed using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy by the NGA Scientific Research department (see report dated August 17, 1993, in NGA Conservation department files).

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