Willem Kalf Netherlands
2-1619 Rotterdam, NED - 7-31-1693 Amsterdam, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Willem Kalf was previously thought to have been born in 1622, but H. E. van Gelder’s important archival research has established the painter’s correct place and date of birth. Kalf was born into a prosperous patrician family in Rotterdam, where his father, a cloth merchant, held municipal posts as well.
In the late 1630s, Willem Kalf traveled to Paris and spent time in the circle of the Flemish artists in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. In Paris he painted mainly small-scale rustic interiors and still lifes. Kalf’s rustic interiors are typically dominated by groups of vegetables, buckets, pots and pans, which he arranged as a still life in the foreground. Figures usually appeared only in the blurred obscurity of the background.
Though Willem Kalf painted in Paris, those pictures belong to a pictorial tradition practiced primarily in Flanders in the early 17th century, by such artists as David Teniers the Younger. The only indication of the French origin of the paintings are a few objects that Flemish exponents of the same genre would not have pictured in their works. Kalf’s rustic interiors had a large influence on French art in the circle of the Le Nain brothers, Antoine, Louis and Mathieu Le Nain.
Willem Kalf's magnificent still life paintings vary little in their structure, and most of them actually feature the same objects. Usually, a damask cloth or tapestry is draped upon a table on which there is tableware, with gold and silver vessels, many of which have been identified as work of specific goldsmiths, such as Johannes Lutma. There is almost always a Chinese porcelain bowl, often tilted so that the fruits tumble out of it.
Influenced: Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu Le Nain