Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


HIERONYMUS GALLE THE ELDER (Antwerp 1625 – Antwerp 1699)

Tulips, Roses, Narcissi, Chrysanthemums, Carnations, Orange Blossom, and Irises in a Gilt Urn Upon a Table-Top

oil on canvas

35 x 25 inches (88.9 x 63.5 cm.)


Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, December 9, 2004, lot 152, were purchased by

Private collection, The Netherlands, until the present time


Hieronymus Galle was the son of Elizabeth Classens and Huibrecht Galle, who served as Antwerp’s envoy to the court of Brussels. He began his studies with Abraham Hack in 1636, and joined the Antwerp guild as a master in 1645. He had a nephew called Hieronymus Galle the Younger, who was also an artist in Antwerp. [1]

Galle specialized in flower paintings, although a few works depicting game and a vanitas are known. His early works consisted of festoons swags, and nosegays often around a cartouche displaying a portrait or painted religious sculpture. [2] Walther Bernt in his entry on Galle referenced paintings such as ours, stating, “Less often he painted bouquets against a dark grey background: these, with their tasteful composition and colour, are among the best work in Dutch flower painting.” [3]

This still life comprised of tulips, roses, narcissus, chrysanthemums, carnations, orange blossom, and irises is a spectacular and monumental example of this type. Radially designed, its richness derives from a meticulous arrangement that is compact and colorful. As a number of the flowers in the bouquet bloom at different times of the year, it is possible and common practice among flower still life specialists of the period, that Galle employed individual studies of each bloom upon which to build his composition. The foliage of a citrus tree adds an exotic touch. [4] It is hardly surprising that it is believed that Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, whose works are “characterized by the magnificence and brilliance of the colours of his flowers, placed in luxurious vases”, while living in Antwerp was inspired by Galle. [5]

Galle’s works formed part of the permanent collections of the museums of Antwerp, Bordeaux, Boulogne-sur-mer, Bruges, Brussels, Cambrai, Florence, The Hague, Karlsruhe, Maastricht, Prague, Tourcoing and Valenciennes among others.

We are grateful to Fred G. Meijer for confirming the painting as a work by Hieronymus Galle the Elder.




[1] Biographical information taken from Dr. Ulrich Thieme and Dr. Felix Becker, “Heironymus Galle I” in Allgemeines Lexikon den Bildenden Künstler, Veb E.A. Seeman Verlag, Leipzig, Volume XIII, 1920, p. 108, and Adriaan van der Willgen and Fred G. Meijer, “Hieronymus (I) Galle” in A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still Life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Primavera Press, Leiden, 2003, p. 87.

[2] Abigail D. Newman, “Hieronymus (I) Galle” in Reclaimed, Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008, p. 228.

[3] Walther Bernt, “Hieronymus Galle” in The Netherlandish Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Volume I, Phaidon, New York, 1970, p. 41.

[4] Abigail D. Newman, op. cit., p. 228.

[5] “Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer” on Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website at


Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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