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
Date c. 1732
Medium Oil on panel
Dimensions 6 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (17.1 x 20.96 cm)
FRAMED: 11 1/2 x 13 x 2 1/4
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 Back of panel, in ink on paper: du cabinet de J.G. Wille / graveur du Roi
Paris, Marguerite Saintard (Chardin's first wife, died 1735; inventory 1737);
? Antoine de la Roque; his sale Paris, Gersaint, May 1745, no. 75 (sold with pendant);
acquired by "Delpêche" (possibly banker Despueschs)
(Detroit or Louvre version);
Paris, Jean-Georges Wille (1715-1808) (acquired 14 August 1760; not in his sale of 1784);
Paris, Léon Dru (d. 1904);
Paris, Comte de Castel*, 1905;
[Paris, Mme. Léon Kleinberger, in 1907]; consigned 2 Oct. 1931 to
[New York, F. Kleinberger and Co., 1931-32];
New York, American Art Association, Anderson Gallery, F. Kleinberger sale,
18 Nov. 1932, no. 27; purchased by "E. Aulmann" (collector? agent?)
[New York, F. Kleinberger and Co., in 1934]; sold to
[New York, Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., 1935]; acquired by
Detroit/Grosse Pointe Farms, Robert H. Tannahill, in Jan. 1935; bequeathed to
DIA 1970

* F.J. Cummings suggested Comte Edouard de Viel-Castel (need documentation)
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 (Feb. 1889): 129 (article pp. 121-30) [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): 391 (article pp.390-6) [cites Wille, but does not link to any painting].

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

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

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

Pilon, E. Chardin, series "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.

San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, "French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day," 1934, p. 35, cat. 25, repr. [lent by F. Kleinberger & Co., cat. compiled by W. Heil].

Wildenstein, G. "De l'utilisation des sources dans la rédaction des catalogues d'exposition," La Chronique des Arts et de la Curiosité, no. 1096 (May 1960): 2 (article pp. 1-2).

Wildenstein, G. Chardin, revised and enlarged by D. Wildenstein, Zurich, 1963, pp. 157-8, no.119; Greenwich, CT, 1969, p 165, no 119.

Detroit, DIA, The Robert Hudson Tannahill Bequest to The Detroit Institute of Arts, (cat. by G.S. Hood, accompanying the exh. "A Collector's Treasure: The Tannahill Bequest,"), 1970, pp. 27-28, color repr.

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

Paris, Grand Palais; Cleveland Museum of Art; Boston, Museum of Fine Art. "Chardin 1699-1779," Jan 29-Nov 19, 1979, Eng. ed. no. 50, pp 180-183 (ill pp 180, 182). [cat. by R. Rosenberg; titled "Tinned Copper Pot, Pepper Box, Leek, Three Eggs, and a Casserole on a Table."]

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

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

Henshaw, J., ed. 100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts, NY, 1985, p 114, (ill. p 115).

Horowitz, F.A. More Than You See: A Guide to Art, San Diego/New York et al, 1985 p. 209 (ill. fig. 13-10).

Conisbee, P. Chardin, Oxford, 1986, p.102, ill. p. 103, pl 97.

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

Roland Michel, M. Chardin, 1994, Paris, p. 160; p. 187, note 8; color ill. p. 162. Eng. ed. 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, p. 472 (article pp. 471-476).

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais; Düsseldorf, Kunsthalle; London, Royal Academy of Arts; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Chardin," exh. org. by Pierre Rosenberg, 1999-2000, p. 200, no. 38 (color ill. p. 202) (shown in Paris and New York only).

Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti; Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, "Chardin, Il pittore del silenzio," exh. org. by Pierre Rosenberg, 2010-2011, p. 114, no. 22.


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

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

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