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Heda, Willem Claesz

Haarlem, 1594 - Haarlem, 1680

He came from a wealthy family. His artistic training remains totally unknown. A document from 1620 already cites him as a painter in Haarlem. From 1631 onwards, he is documented in the book of the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke, of which he was a council member on repeated occasions between 1637 and 1652; deken or dean in 1641 and 1642 and hoofdman or captain in 1637, 1643 and 1651. Since 1637, he admitted pupils into his workshop. Among them, his son Gerret Willemsz. Heda (active between 1642 and 1649).
Early in his career, he painted religious scenes and portraits. However, he must have quickly turned to still-life painting, since, in 1628, the local chronicler Samuel Ampzing praised his banketten or food still lifes alongside those of Pieter Claesz. (1597–1660). This was the genre that he produced until his death, of which he came to be considered one of the great masters. A vanitas dated 1628 (The Hague, Museum Bredius) constitutes his first surviving still life. His early still lifes closely follow the so-called ‘ontbijtjes’ or ‘breakfast tables’ by Floris van Dijck (1575–1651). Around 1629, he commenced to construct still lifes that were classified by Vroom as ‘monochrome banketjes’ or ‘monochrome still lifes’. These were compositions of great refinement based on an almost monochrome tonal range of browns and yellows falling within the chromatic tendency of landscape painters of his time. These painters belong to Jan van Goyen’s (1596–1656) generation. Around 1641, he began to evolve towards more complex compositions with brighter colours. The last surviving works are dated 1665 and are of lesser artistic quality (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado, 2009, p. 254).

Artworks (3)



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