Chardin was already famous by 1730 when he started painting small still lifes of kitchen utensils. In this work, the artist pared down the elements to a few, simple objects. Chardin typically used the same elements in other compositions, varying slightly the position of the objects or adding or subtracting a utensil. Hailed as a visionary artist, Chardin is nonetheless rooted in the art of eighteenth-century France, and the metaphysical quality of his compositions (as seen through modern eyes) does not mean that they are timeless. They bring the viewer instead into an earthly world and into the creative process of one of the greatest French painters of all time.
Artist Jean Siméon Chardin, French, 1699-1779
  • Still Life
  • Kitchen Still Life (Alternate Title)
Date ca. 1732
Medium oil on wood panel
Dimensions Unframed: 6 3/4 × 8 1/4 inches (17.1 × 21 cm)
Framed: 11 1/2 × 13 × 2 1/4 inches (29.2 × 33 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill
Accession Number 70.164
Department European Painting
On View Fashionable Living: S330.2, Level 3 (see map)
Signed Signed, lower left, on edge of table: Chardin
Inscriptions Inscribed, in ink on paper, on panel, verso: du cabinet de J.G. Wille | graveur du Roi
Marguerite Saintard [d. 1735], Chardin's first wife (Paris, France);
by 1745, Antoine de la Roque;
May 1745, sold by (Gersaint, Paris, France) Antoine de la Roque sale, no. 75 [sold with pendant];
acquired by Delpêche [possibly banker Despueschs; Detroit or Louvre version];
August 14, 1760, acquired by Jean-Georges Wille [1715-1808] (Paris, France);
Léon Dru [d. 1904] (Paris, France);
1905, possibly Comte de Castel (Paris, France);
1907, Mme. Léon Kleinberger (Paris, France);
October 2, 1931-1932, by consignment to (F. Kleinberger and Co., New York, New York, USA);
November 18, 1932, sold by (American Art Association, Anderson Gallery, New York, New York, USA) F. Kleinberger sale, no. 27;
1932, purchased by E. Aulmann [possibly collector or agent];
1934, sold by (F. Kleinberger and Co., New York, New York, USA);
1935, purchased by (Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., New York, New York, USA);
January 1935, acquired by Robert H. Tannahill [1893-1969] (Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, USA);
1970-present, bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Duplessis, G., ed. Mémoires et Journal de J.-G. Wille, graveur du Roi, publiés d'après les manuscrits autographes de la Bibliothèque Impériale, 2 vols. Paris, 1857, vol. 1: "Mémoires," p. 141.

Chennevières, H. de. "Chardin au musée du Louvre." part 2 of 2 Gazette des Beaux-Arts, series 3, vol. 1, no. 2 (February 1889): pp. 121-130, 129. [cites Wille, but erroneously linked with Louvre version].

Dilke, E.F.S. "Chardin et ses Oeuvres à Potsdam et à Stockholm." part 3 of 3, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, series 3, vol. 22, no. 509 (Nov. 1899): pp. 390-396, 391. [cites Wille, but does not link to any painting].

Normand, C. J.-B. Siméon Chardin. Les Artistes Célèbres. Paris, 1901, p. 16, footnote 1. [cites Wille, but does not link to any painting.]

Exposition Chardin et Fragonard. Exh. cat., Galerie Georges Petit. Paris, 1907, no. 15.

Guiffrey, J. Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné de Chardin. Paris, 1908, p. 81, no. 157, pp. 53, 72.

Pilon, E. Chardin. Les Maîtres de l'Art. Paris, 1909, pp. 47-48 [cites Wille, but does not link to any painting].

Furst, H.E.A. Chardin. London, 1911, p. 126.

Wildenstein, G. Chardin. Paris, 1933, p. 231, no. 999.

French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day. Exh. cat., California Palace of the Legion of Honor. San Francisco, 1934, p. 35, cat. 25 (ill.).

Wildenstein, G. "De l'utilisation des sources dans la rédaction des catalogues d'exposition." La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité: supplement to Gazette des beaux-arts, no. 1096 (May 1960): pp. 1-2.

Wildenstein, G. Chardin, revised and enlarged by D. Wildenstein. Zurich, 1963, pp. 157-158, no. 119.

Wildenstein, G. Chardin, revised and enlarged by D. Wildenstein. Greenwich, CT, 1969, p. 165, no. 119.

The Robert Hudson Tannahill Bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1970, pp. 17, 27-28 (ill.).

Cummings, F.J. and C.H. Elam, eds. The Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 117 (ill.).

"Family Art Game," DIA Advertising Supplement, Detroit Free Press, May 20, 1979, p. 26 (ill.).

Rosenberg, R. Chardin 1699-1779. Exh. cat., Grand Palais et al. Paris, 1979, no. 50, pp. 180-183 (ill.). [as "Tinned Copper Pot, Pepper Box, Leek, Three Eggs, and a Casserole on a Table."]

Burollet, T. Musée Cognacq-Jay, Peintures et Dessins. Paris, 1980, pp. 66, 68.

Rosenberg, P. L'opera completa di Chardin, series: Classici dell'Arte. Milan, 1983, p. 89, no. 86, p. 88 (figs. 86, 86b, 86c).

"Family Art Game", DIA Advertising Supplement, Detroit News, April 14, 1985, p. 29 (ill.).

Henshaw, J., ed. 100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 114-115 (ill.).

Horowitz, F.A. More Than You See: A Guide to Art. San Diego and New York, 1985 p. 209 (figs. 13-10).

"Family Art Game", DIA Advertising Supplement, Detroit Free Press, May 18, 1986, p. 10 (ill.).

Conisbee, P. Chardin. Oxford, 1986, pp. 102 (ill.), 103, pl. 97.

Wagner, Monique. From Gaul to De Gaulle: An Outline of French Civilization. New York, 1989, p. xiv, pl. 32 (ill.).

Broeker, H. "Farbraum und Bildzeit: zur Bildkonzeption der Stilleben Jean Siméon Chardins." Idea. 1991, vol. 10, pp. 103-125 (fig. 13).

Roland Michel, M. Chardin. Paris, 1994, p. 160; p. 187, note 8; (color ill.) p. 162.

Roland Michel, M. Chardin. London and New York, 1996, color pl. only p. 162. [Wille cited on p. 72, but not linked to any specific paintings.]

Conisbee, P. "Jean-Siméon Chardin." Dictionary of Art, vol. 6. 1996, pp. 471-476, 472.

Rosenberg, Pierre. Chardin. Exh. cat., Grand Palais et al. Paris, 1999, p. 200, no. 38, p. 202 (color ill.).

Rosenberg, Pierre. Chardin, Il pittore del silenzio. Exh. cat., Palazzo dei Diamanti and Museo Nacional del Prado. Ferrara and Madrid, 2010, p. 114, no. 22.