Georg Flegel, a native of the Moravian city of Olomouc, learned his craft from the Flemish artist Lucas van Valckenborch. The first German still-life specialist followed his teacher from Linz to Frankfurt. This painting dates from Flegel’s early Frankfurt period, as is confirmed by the coins seen at lower left – the so-called Schüsselpfennige of Frankfurt mintage. On the table, we see an assembly of simple and expensive foods: water and wine, dark bread and the more genteel white bread, two lobsters and a simple pike’s head suitable only as the basis for soup or aspic.
According to the records of the Städel Museum’s holdings, this still life was donated in 1927 by the art dealer Bernhard de Boer or, more specifically, by his Altholländische Galerie in Frankfurt. The gallery was situated in Oberlindau No. 1, at the corner of Bockenheimer Landstrasse. Bernhard de Boer’s partner in the Altholländische Galerie was Otto Busch. Busch later became the director of the well-known Galerie Pieter de Boer in the Herengracht in Amsterdam, with which the Städel Museum long cultivated active contact.