His Still Life with Fruit on a Delft Plate, Seashells, Insects, Flowers in a Wanli Vase and Two Parrots, a 2ft 6in x 3ft 6in (77cm x 1.07m) signed panel, is one of the highlights at Koller’s sale on March 31 in Zurich.
Large format paintings of this calibre were designed to show off the artist’s abilities and in some sense presented a catalogue of the subjects he could paint on commission. It reflects the fashion of the time with a fascination for things exotic, fuelled by the activities of the Dutch East India Company.
A blue-white Wanli vase figured in numerous works by the artist, who varied the arrangement in each of his paintings.
The provenance of the painting is well documented and can be traced back to 1780, when it was the property of a certain Reverend J Willemsen in Middelburg, Van der Ast’s home town.
Having subsequently belonged to collectors and dealers in America, London, Amsterdam and Zurich, it has been part of an unnamed American collection since 1979.
Koller has estimated it at SFr850,000-1.2m.