A man filling wet drug jars in an apothecary shop
- Circa 1650 – 1800
In the apothecary's workshop a man pours liquid from a jar into blue earthenware vessels. He is surrounded by copper bowls, jars, and sacks of endive and other herbs and vegetables likely used for medical preparations and tonics. At far right a bowl of vegetables sits beside a furnace with a distillation apparatus. Crates and baskets for travel lie on the ground at left, where another assistant emerges from the shadows.
[David Koetser Gallery, New York, date unknown]. 
Joseph Cristadoro; (his sale, American Art Galleries, New York, 5 March 1925, lot 30, buyer unknown, possibly Chester Fisher). 
Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA; Fisher Scientific International Inc., Hampton, NH, acquired by Chester Fisher, circa 1925-65, until 2000.
The Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2000 (from Fisher Scientific).Show notes
 Based on a Koetser Gallery label on the verso of the painting.
 This is confirmed by a wax seal on the verso of the painting, which reads "Joseph Cristadoro New York," and by the description of lot 30 in the auction catalogue: "Dutch School XVII Century /THE ALCHEMIST / Height, 19 ½ inches; length, 25 ½ inches / The dark interior of the laboratory of a mystic heaped with copper pans, cauldrons and retorts ; the old man is pouring the contents of a glass flask into one of two blue earthenware jars, while at the extreme left stands an expectant assistant." Lot 31 seems to describe a pendant painting of the same size, titled "Interior of a Nobleman's Kitchen."
Joseph Cristadoro was most likely Joseph Cristadoro (1813-1888), who emigrated from Palermo Italy to New York and became a very successful hair dresser, wig-maker, and chemist of dyes, tonics and medicines. It seems likely that the collection passed down to Cristadoro's son and that he organized the 1925 sale. There is future research potential to find more documentation of Cristadoro's art collection, how and when he acquired it, and how it descended in the family.
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A Man Filling Wet Drug Jars in an Apothecary Shop. Oil paint (paint), canvas (textile material), circa 1650–1800. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/ws859g16b.
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