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Claesz., Pieter

Berchem (Belgium), 1596/1597 - Haarlem, 1660

Little is known about his life with certainty. From a document dated 29 September 1640, in which the painter states that he was forty-one years old, it can be presumed that he was born between 1596 and 1597. His marriage to Geertje Hendricksdr in Haarlem is documented on 21 May 1617. The couple had two children, Riekje and Claes, the latter of whom became a well-known landscape painter with the name Nicolaes Berchem. There is evidence that he was buried in the Haarlem on 1 January 1661. His known output extends from 1623 to 1660. Although he appears listed in the inventories as a painter of vanitas, Claesz. was primarily a still life painter. His early still lifes, rich in chromatics, follow the tradition of the so-called ‘breakfast tables’ (ontbijtjes) of Florin van Schooten (1580/88–1656) and Florin van Dijck (1575–1651). Nevertheless, in the 1630s, he became one of the most prominent representatives of the so-called ‘monochrome banketejs,’ or ‘monochrome still lifes,’ initiated around 1629 by Willem Claesz. Heda (around 1596– around 1680). After 1640, he turned to the depiction of opulent fruit baskets with a richer palette of warm and transparent tones, similar to those of Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606–1683) and Abraham van Beijeren (1620/21–1690/03) (Posada, T., en Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado: catálogo razonado, 2009, pág. 253).

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