A painting in brunaille, a monochromatic image in tones of brown. This painting shows a seated alchemist in peasant garb. In his hands he holds a crucible and a pair of tongs, working before the light of a glowing fire within the furnace. A nearby tripod holds a small pot over the fire, while tongs, an hourglass, and other tools and implements hang close by. A large distillation apparatus with a long-necked retort sits behind him on a makeshift table made from a barrel. In the background, the alchemist's wife looks on in dismay, displaying the family's last coins in a desperate gesture, flanked by her children. Their open-handed gestures signal the family's poverty and struggle, as the alchemist chases his vain dreams of gold and glory.
[possibly sale, Justus Juncker (dealer), Frankfurt, 19 January 1763, lot 84]. 
Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA; Fisher Scientific International Inc., Hampton, NH, acquired by Chester Fisher prior to 1965 (on loan to the Carnegie Museum of Art, 1988-2000). 
The Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2000 (from Fisher Scientific International).Show notes
 Lot 84 is described in French as, "An alchemist in his laboratory with many figures & numerous details, very well painted." The dimensions are larger, 22 by 27 "pouces", though it is possible that these were the framed dimensions, which are similar to the current framed dims of FA 2000.001.284. German painter Justus Juncker (1703-1767) was involved in the sale, who painted several alchemist scenes himself, including some in the collection. There is no seller or buyer listed and no post sales have been identified thus far.
 Chester Fisher died in 1965. The loan to the Carnegie is documented in internal museum archives.
|Rights||Public Domain Mark 1.0|
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