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 Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten  (1622 - 1666)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: marine, topographical townscape painting-snowscenes

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Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraeten is primarily known as Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten

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Ad Code: 2
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from Auction House Records.
A winter landscape with figures skating and playing kolf on a frozen river at the edge of a town
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jan Beerstraten may have been a pupil of Claes Claesz. Wou (1592–1665), a marine painter in the Flemish tradition, who seems to have influenced his paintings of sea battles. His southern ports and seashores were influenced by the works of such Dutch Italianate painters as Nicolaes Berchem and Jan Baptist Weenix. Unlike his townscapes, Beerstraten’s ports were totally imaginary, sometimes with a well-known northern European building incorporated on the seashore. It is not known whether he went to Italy, although in his paintings the southern light seems to be accurately conveyed, as in the Imaginary View of a Port with the Façade of Santa Maria Maggiore of Rome (formerly known as the ‘Port of Genoa’, 1662, Paris, Louvre). For his Italian subjects he may have copied drawings given to him by Johannes Lingelbach, an Italianate painter who had been to Italy. Lingelbach occasionally painted the figures in Beerstraten’s compositions. His drawings represent themes similar to those of his paintings.

His townscapes were mostly winter scenes, as in the first known topographical painting by him: View of Oude Kerk in the Winter (1659; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Although his work reflects the increased public interest in topography in mid-seventeenth-century Amsterdam, there is also a somewhat romantic atmosphere pervading his winter landscapes. His colours are generally tonal and his style soft by comparison with the clearly defined townscapes by Jan van der Heyden. His subjects were also romanticized, as in the Ruins of the Old Town Hall of Amsterdam after the Fire of 7 July 1652 (1653; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Shortly before his death Jan Beerstraten painted the Church of Nieuwkoop (Hamburg, Kunsthalle), depicting the church under a dark, cloudy sky, with a funeral procession emerging from behind it.

Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten is represented in the following collections: Hermitage, St. Petersburg; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Louvre, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery, London; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Courtauld Institute of Art, London; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, amongst others.

Sphinx Fine Art

Biography from Australian National Maritime Museum:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Dutch marine and landscape painter, Johannes Beerstraaten was the second son of the painter Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraaten the Elder and was his pupil in Amsterdam.  His works are notoriously mistaken for his father’s and oldest brother’s, Abraham: all three artists painted sea-, town- and landscapes.  Those of a better quality are generally attributed to Jan, who occasionally signed his works ‘Johannes’, the Latin form of his name.

Johannes the Younger specialized in imaginary Mediterranean harbour scenes that he transformed into architectural capricci.  Landmarks of Italian or foreign cities, such as S. Maria Maggiore in Rome (1662, Louvre, Paris) and the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, can be seen in a number of such paintings.  It seems unlikely that Johannes travelled to Italy or other foreign lands.

Like his father, he probably modelled the Mediterranean atmospheric effects and architecture in his paintings on other Dutch Italianate artists. He may have also studied the drawings of Johannes Lingelbach, used by his father as raw material for Italian views. Johannes Beerstraaten’s harbour scenes are typically crowded and alive with activity: elegant parties stroll along a quay, men converse by a fountain, porters carry barrels, fishermen attend their boats. His paintings are highly decorative but he was sometimes unable to get the perspective right.

Maritime Art Greenwich

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