17th century Flemish and Dutch paintings

Ruysch, Circle of Rachel, SOLD

Circle of Anna Elisabeth Ruysch
Flowers in a glass vase
Oil on panel : 36,7 X 26,3 cm
Frame : 49,6 X 39,9 cm


In short

I have not been able to find the right attribution for this interesting composition. It stands close to the Ruysch sisters, in fact it resembles more the compositions of Anna Elisabeth than those of her famous sister Rachel, so our painter must have been active in Amsterdam circa 1700.

About Anna Elisabeth Ruysch

Dutch painter
The Hague 1666 – 1754 Amsterdam

Also kown as Anna Ruysch.

Still life painter.
She almost never signed her paintings, which therefore have to be recognized on stylistic grounds. 

Anna Elisabeth was the younger sister of Rachel Ruysch (1664 – 1750), one of the most significant (female) painters of the Dutch Golden Age. 

Daughter of Frederik Ruysch (1638 – 1731). Shortly after her birth, at the age of one, the family moved to Amsterdam where her father became a famous professor anatomy and botany. The anatomy lesson of Dr Frederik Ruysch was depicted twice on large canvasses, both paintings are exhibited today in the Amsterdam Historical Museum: in 1670 by Adriaen Backer and in 1683 by Jan van Neck. 

Dr. Frederik Ruysch made furore with his museum of rarities, anatomic still lifes, in which he also used insects, flowers and plants. Rachel and Anna Elsabeth grew up amidst these still lifes. Because they were excellent at depicting these Rachel, and most probably also her 2 years younger sister Anna Elisabeth, went to study under the famous still life painter Willem van Aelst (1627 – 1683). He had been court painter of grand duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici of Tuscany, and had settled permanently in Amsterdam in 1656.

Anna Elisabeth’s grandfather was Pieter Post (1608 – 1669), the famous court architect in The Hague. Pieter, who had also started as a painter, was the elder brother of Frans Post, known for his paintings depicting Brazilian landscapes.

In 1688 Anna Elisabeth married with Isaak Hellenbroek (1664 – 1749, called Hellendoorn at the RKD, The Hague and in the 2003 Dictionary by van der Willigen and Meijer), wholesaler in paint. The couple had at least 6 children, 3 of whom reached the adult age. While her elder sister Rachel chose for her career as a painter (she also married a painter, Jurriaen Pool, in 1693), Anna Elsabeth did not. In fact she stopped her career as a painter (which does not mean of course that she stopped painting) and helped her husband in his business on the Damrak. Though very well painted, her paintings were probably not made for the market. Her will also mentions her flower pieces: her two daughters each inherited two. The wholesale business in paint was not unsuccessful, as it known that Isaac’s income in 1742 was the same as that of Rachel.

Anna Elisabeth was influenced, just like Rachel, by Willem van Aelst (asymmetric compositions) and to a lesser extant by Abraham Mignon (1640 – 1679) and by Ernst Stuven (circa 1657 – 1712; he was a pupil of both van Aelst and Mignon and lived, just like the Ruysch family, on the Bloemengracht, that is the ‘Flower canal’). But above all she was influenced by her elder sister Rachel; she is even known to have copied her.

Comparative paintings
Click photos for more details