Balthasar van der Ast is trained by Ambrosius who had married his elder sister. The family settles permanently in Utrecht in 1619. On the same year Roelandt Savery becomes a member of the artists' guild of that city.
On March 31 in Zurich, Koller sells a still life painted by Balthasar, lot 3040 estimated CHF 850K. This oil on panel in large size for its time, 77 x 107 cm, displays a wide variety of objects: fruits, flowers, seashells, insects and two parrots, announcing a new phase in the still life.
The naturalistic realism wanted by Brueghel and Bosschaert is still present, but the theme now includes novelties imported into Holland by the Dutch East India Company. This exoticism is represented here by the shells, the two birds, some fruits and the Wanli vase. Each element of botany or zoology remains perfectly identifiable.
Despite the abundance of objects the composition is clear and airy with a beautiful range of colors that may have already been influenced by Savery. The hypothesis that this painting would have been executed by Balthasar as a showcase for the variety of his know-how circa 1620 shortly after his arrival in Utrecht is appealing. When Ambrosius died in 1621 Balthasar took over.