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Fine Art, Still Life, Shells, Feathers, Anneke van Brussel, Vintage Painting, 1988


Anneke van Brussel (b. 1949)
Still Life with One Red Onion
Dutch: 1988
Signed upper center “v. Brussel” and dated 1988
Watercolor and mixed media on paper
23.5 x 17 inches, image
25.5 x 19 inches, overall
Provenance: Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York and Hokin Kaufman Gallery, Chicago

Trompe l’oeil still life painting of a safety pin and a marble, joined by an array of natural objects: feathers, shells, leaves, seedpods, insects, eggs, a rose, and a red onion. The items are fairly similar in scale and fairly evenly distributed across a flat surface so that they are mostly isolated from each other. The design encourages a contemplative comparison between different types of natural forms, for example, the way a dragonfly’s body resembles a nearby striped conical shell or the spine of a feather. The painting resembles traditional natural history illustrations and recalls the tradition of the Collector’s Cabinet (see our online article), though with a contemporary artist’s interest in their formal qualities as opposed to 18th- and 19th-century illustrators’ interest in the scientific classification of species. It is clear, however, from looking at her larger body of work that she is deeply familiar with the natural history paintings of earlier centuries and has immersed herself in the traditions of realist painting.

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Anneke van Brussel is a Dutch realist painter whose subjects include still life and portraits, sometimes with landscape backgrounds. She was born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and studied at the Dutch Royal Academy for Art and Design and the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, Belgium. Upon completing her studies in 1971, she began exhibiting her work and while still in her 20s was included in a traveling exhibition of Dutch contemporary realism exhibited in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. In 1978, van Brussel had her first show at Lieve Hermel Gallery in Amsterdam, which as of 2007, still represents her work. In the mid-1980s she began exhibiting in the U.S., including shows at the Alexander Milliken Gallery in New York, and has continued to exhibit internationally on a regular basis.

Condition: Generally fine overall with only faint toning and wear. Aged look of paper is part of artist’s painted design.


“Anneke van Brussel.” Lieve Hermel Gallery. 2007. (19 September 2007).

Additional information


20th Century