Painters of food….1600s master painter Jan Davidsz de Heem…

A clip showing many works of the artist.

low price range: $3,000

high price range: $55,000

The artist was born  on April 17th of 1606 in Uttrecht which is located in the Netherlands.

His style would be a mixture of Dutch and Flemish baroque styles.

He painted wonderful tulips. The style of painting very light flowers against dark and subdued backgrounds makes the flowers jump to the foreground. In the white and red tulips he didn’t use grey as many artists did, but rather a much cooler stark white. The contrast in the flowers is amazing.  More amazing to me that more than likely it was painted one flower at at time.  Even wealthy citizens only displayed the flowers one at a time.

The artist painted wonderful crabs. The crab as a shape can be used to give added depth in a painting.  Rather than think of it as a crab think only of the shape, which to me is an arrow. Use the crab to point to something else in the painting and the viewers eye will immediately be drawn to it.

As a student he started working under his father, David de Heem. After this he studied with Balthasar Van Ast. As owner of an art student sometimes he would have his own sons paint the works, and he would sign it! So regardless of the period there always seems to be an artist who is just trying to maximize profits. Peter Paul Rubens, Andy Warhol, and Thomas Kinkade are three artists who made a great deal of money by having a large number of artworks on the market.

The artist had three sons as well as several apprentices in his workshop. One artist apprentice was Abraham Mignon, one of the first artists I wrote about in this food series.

During much of this time period the style of painting was to make portraits of the subjects.  For me this artist used so much color in his paintings. His parrot tulips seem even brighter with the earthy browns in the background. The artist was a master at painting varied textures such as fruits, snails,

As a painter he was in such demand he could never make enough paintings! A great problem to have in my opinion! He was active in the Antwerp and Utrecht. In museums around the world around 100 paintings are in collections, only 18 are signed and dated.  When painting very large works he was still able to use delightful color to make his large scale works just as lively as his smaller paintings. Painted mainly with oils on panel.

Any time you are struggling with colors or ideas for a still life check out any of the Dutch and Flemish painters of the Baroque Era. They were fantastic and rendering textures and one painting might have 6 textures to play with.

Happy painting!


The artist died in 1684.

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