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 Edwaerd Collier  (c.1640 - 1708)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands/Holland      Known for: still life and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 2
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
VANITAS STILL LIFE WITH A CANDLESTICK, MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, DUTCH BOOKS, A WRITING SET, AN ASTROLOGICAL AND A TERRESTIAL GLOBE AND AN HOURGLASS, ALL ON A DRAPED TABLE
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Sotheby's London, New Bond Street:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

The chronology of Collier's peripatetic life is not entirely clear, but he left for England on 2nd May 1693 and probably remained there until 1707 when a still life, his last, is signed and dated (on a portrait of Charles I) E. Collier Fecit./ London 1707.  However, it seems he returned often to Leiden, where he had lived from 1667 to 1693, and is recorded there in 1700 and in 1706.  He probably trained in Haarlem as his earliest still lifes, from the 1650s, manifest the influence of Pieter Claesz. and, in particular, Vincent Laurensz. van der Vinne; indeed he inscribed the name V. Laurens on what is probably his first vanitas still life, painted in 1656.

Collier was clearly a colourful character and was married three times in the space of eleven years between 1670 and 1681.  His eventful personal life renders his sombre obsession with the vanitas still life, which he painted almost exclusively throughout his career, all the more fascinating.  In his Self-portrait with a vanitas still life of 1684, then into his third marriage, he portrays himself as a younger man standing before a table laden with a violin with a broken string and a skull.  He may have painted this work as a pictorial lesson for himself, to remind him of his former folly in relation to the transience of life and the finality of death.

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