Jan Van Looy

Still Life With Ceramics, Onions & Lemons

Jan Van Looy

Still Life With Ceramics, Onions & Lemons

This painterly mid-20th-century oil painting by Belgian artist Jan Van Looy (1882-1971) depicts a still life with ceramics, onions, lemons and tablecloth.

Rendered with passion and acumen, this earthy assortment of objects is far from lifeless. Van Looy’s deft handling captures the light with careful observation. Note the vertical highlight on the largest jug, which bends to appreciate the form. And the three-dimensional appearance of the onions.

Van Looy was aware of the rich artistic heritage of his Flemish forebears and his works are heavy with history. It’s interesting to see the inclusion of a scruffy partially peeled onion as this could be a subtle nod to vanitas paintings, which sought to remind viewers of the ultimate fragility of life.

Signed/dated lower right and held within a later frame. Exhibited in 1941 at the Société Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels along with an interior scene.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 44” x 36½” / 112cm x 92cm
Year of creation: c. 1941
Labels & Inscriptions: Exhibition label Société Royale des Beaux-Arts, Salon de Printemps, 1941. A gallery label, perhaps from a gallery in Laeken. A collector’s label referring to the ‘Francqui’ collection. Plus a frame-maker’s label.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.

Jan Van Looy

Jan Van Looy

Jan Van Looy was an accomplished Belgian artist known predominantly for still lifes, impressionistic landscapes and interiors. He trained in Brussels at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and his mature understanding of the Flemish old masters underpinned many of his works, particularly with regards to his colouring. His still lifes often carry a sense of controlled spontaneity - e.g. he unleashed his heart while also respecting his formal academic training and the rich artistic heritage of the low countries. He's represented in numerous public collections.

Learn more about Jan Van Looy in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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