HARMEN LOEDING (Leiden circa 1637 – after 1673)
A Still Life of a Lemon, Prawns, Peaches, Strawberries, Cherries, Wanli Bowl and Roemer on a Draped Table
oil on panel
16 1/8 x 12 ¼ inches (41 x 31 cm.)
Michael Ingram, Esq., Driffield Manor, Cirencester, Great Britain
Estate of Michael Ingram, Sotheby’s, London, December 8, 2005, lot 279, where bought by
Johnny von Haeften LTD, London, from whom acquired by
Private Collection, Washington, D.C., March 2006, until the present time
Little has been recorded about the life of Harmen Loeding. He specialized in fruit and flower pieces and joined the Saint Lucas guild of Leiden in 1664 until lastly documented in 1673. Under whom he received his training is also unknown. Adding to the confusion are the alternate spellings of his name that occur, which include Herman Loeding, Harmen Lotding, Herman Lotding, Harmen Luidingh, Herman Luidingh, Harmen Luydingh and Herman Luydingh. 
His early works recall those of Willem van Aelst and are similar to Isaac Denies as well as Isaack van Kipshaven.  Works such as ours, that must date from the period after his joining of the guild, form the basis of his reputation. These paintings reflect the prodigious influence of fellow Utrecht artist Jan Davidsz. de Heem, the most celebrated Baroque still-life painter in The Netherlands. Other artists in the guild, including Nicolaes van Gelder, Jan Mortel and in particular Pieter de Ring, were similarly impacted. Displays of fruit with valuable objects rendered in intricate detail, vivid color and bathed in strong light predominated.  Walther Bernt noted in his entry on Loeding that his signature on paintings was often removed and replaced by that of Jan Davidsz. de Heem.  Adriaan van der Willigen and Fred G. Meijer stated in their dictionary, “Unsigned Loeding still lifes are easily mistaken for works by Pieter de Ring”.  Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that his known oeuvre is relatively small. 
Loeding’s paintings formed part of the permanent collections of the museums of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Munich and Schwerin. None are to be found in American museums.
Displayed upon a wooden table, partially covered by a gold-fringed cloth, is a sumptuous array of mainly fruit. On a pewter dish is a peeled lemon, a few prawns and white currants. Three peaches are stacked beside the dish. More peaches and wild strawberries fill a Kraak porcelain bowl of Ogee form dating from the Late Ming Wanli period circa 1600. These bowls were produced in China for export to the Dutch or Portuguese market. If this bowl was originally intended for Portugal, it would have arrived in Holland after being confiscated by Dutch privateers. (“Privateers were private individuals… equipped with legal authorization from their government to attack enemy ships and steal merchandise from them, and frequently to steal the ships themselves. The Republic of the Netherlands made extensive use of privateers, for they presented a nearly perfect solution to the problem of financing naval operations… The beauty of this system from the government’s perspective was that the costs of equipping a privateering expedition were born entirely by the privateers themselves and by the financial backers of individual privateer ships. The profits, however, were shared with the government, so the use of privateer ships allowed the Republic of the Netherlands to increase the number of armed ships available for… conflict… without having to incur the expenses necessary to permanently engage their navy – while at the same time bringing in much needed extra revenue.”)  Cherries and strawberries are draped around a half-filled glass of wine. Perhaps in the midst of such abundance, it is a reminder that temperance is a virtue. A stone wall provides the backdrop. Light streams in from the source on the left-hand side of the panel, creating reflections of the unseen studio window along the surface of the glass.
We are very grateful to Michael Cohen of Cohen and Cohen for his identification of the Wanli bowl and his invaluable assistance in the writing of this entry.
 “Harem Loeding” on Rkd.nl (RKD Explore) website.
 Walther Bernt, “Harmen Loeding” in The Netherlandish Painters of the Seventeenth Century, volume 2, Phaidon Publishers, Inc., New York, p. 73.
 Pippa Mason, Harmen Loeding” on Johnny van Haeften, Old Master Paintings, media, blog.
 Walther Bernt, op.cit., p. 73.
 Adriaan van der Willigen & Fred G. Meijer, “Harmen Loeding” in A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-Life Painters Working in Oils 1525 – 1725, Primavera Press, Leiden, 2003, p. 133.
 Pippa Mason, op.cit..
 Adam Nichols, “The Dutch Connection: How Seventeenth Century Dutch Privateers Became Barbary Corsairs in North Africa” in Corsairs & Captives, January 27, 2019, corsairsandcaptivesblog.com.