Willem Kalf Biography | Oil Painting
2-1619 Rotterdam, NED - 7-31-1693 Amsterdam, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Willem Kalf was born into a prosperous family in Rotterdam, his father was a cloth merchant and held a municipal post too. In the late 1630s, in his late teens, Willem Kalf traveled to Paris and spent time in the circle of the Flemish artist colony in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, and painted small-scale rustic interiors and still lifes, dominated by groups of vegetables, pots and pans, which are arranged as a still life in the foreground and figures in the background blurred as secondary in importance, so that the emphasis is on the foreground objects.
In spite of the fact that Willem Kalf painted in Paris, those paintings belong to a pictorial tradition practiced in Flanders in the early 1600's, by such artists as David Teniers the Younger. The only sign of the French origin of the oil paintings are a few objects that are French designed. Kalf’s rustic interiors had a large influence on French art in the circle of the Le Nain brothers.
His early works such as Corner of a Barn, are rough and rudimentary compared to the high detail of his later still life, it's as if two different artists painted these paintings. When he returned to the Netherlands, he self-studied the paintings of other still life artists in minute detail to be able to understand the techniques used to reproduce detailed objects.
Willem Kalf's sublime still life paintings fluctuate little in their structure, and most of them actually highlight the same limited items. Usually, a damask fabric or embroidered artwork is draped on a table on which there is flatware, with gold and silver vessels, many of which have been identified as work of specific goldsmiths, such as Johannes Lutma. There is quite often a Chinese porcelain bowl, often tilted so that the fruits tumble out of it. He is considered today one of the greatest still life painters ever.
Art Movement: Baroque, Dutch Golden Age.
He Traveled To France.
Painters Willem Kalf Influenced: Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu Le Nain.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.