Authors

Claes Berchem

Haarlem 1620 - Amsterdam 1683

Claes Berchem was the son of the still-life painter Pieter Claesz (1596/97 - 1661). He was born in Haarlem in 1620 and his first master was his father. Houbraken also mentions periods of study in the studios of Jan van Goyen (1596 - 1656), Claes Moeyaert (1592/93 -1655), Pieter de Grebber (c.1600 - 1653) and Jan Wils (c. 1610 - 1666). It is unlikely Jan Baptist Weenix (Amsterdam 1621 - Utrecht 1660) was his master, as Weenix was younger than Berchem. In 1642 Berchem was admitted as master of the St Lucas Guild in Haarlem and, in this same year, he acquired three disciples. He got married in 1646. Around 1650, he took an artistic trip to Westphalia accompanied by Jacob van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/29 - Amsterdam 1682) where he did a number of sketches. Although there is no conclusive proof, several historians have highlighted the possibility that Berchem made at least one visit to Italy. Probably around 1653 he visited the south and a document proves that he returned to Haarlem in 1656. His Italianate landscapes demonstrate the influence of J. Both (1615 - 1652) and J. Assenlijn (1615 - 1652). Around 1677, Berchem moved to Amsterdam, where he remained until his death. Throughout his career he was constantly sought after as a master. Among his disciples we find Karel du Jardin (c. 1622 - 1678) and Hendrik Mommers (c. 1623 - 1693).

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