Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters

By Adelheid M. Gealt | Go to book overview

K

KALF, Willem ( Rotterdam 1619-Amsterdam1693), Dutch. Today acknowledged as the greatest interpreter of pronk (ostentatious) still life of seventeenth-century Holland, Kalf was also one of the few still-life painters recognized as a great master in his own day. Although he painted several kinds of subjects, including humble kitchen interiors, Kalf's fame rests on his pronk still lifes, particularly those produced in his mature phase, which began around the time of his arrival in Amsterdam in 1653. Despite their ostentatious subject matter (elaborately wrought nautilus cups, blue and white Chinese porcelain, oriental carpets, decorative Venetian glassware fill these compositions), the paintings nevertheless express a calm, a mystery, and a dignity that transcends the materiality the objects represent. The poetic quality of Kalf's works touched a particularly responsive chord among the Romantics--Goethe, in particular, wrote an insightful observation on a still life by Kalf now in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne.

Born in Rotterdam in 1619, Kalf was the son of a cloth merchant. His teacher is not known. Houbraken* calls him a pupil of Hendrik Gerritsz Pot in Haarlem. The fact that Kalf] produced both kitchen (and occasionally stable) scenes as well as still lifes has resulted in the suggestion that François Ryckhals was his master. Other facts of Kalf's life are better known. He lived in Paris between 1642 and 1646. In 1644 a document records him in Rotterdam, suggesting that Kalf did make visits home. After 1646 he is back in Rotterdam. In 1651 he married the diamond engraver, calligrapher, poet, and composer Cornelia Pluvier in Hoorn. Their wedding was

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Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface And Acknowledgments ix
  • List of Artists xv
  • A 1
  • B 12
  • C 80
  • D 167
  • E 194
  • F 202
  • G 221
  • H 253
  • J 290
  • K 298
  • L 310
  • M 355
  • N 407
  • O 416
  • P 424
  • R 466
  • S 524
  • T 580
  • U 593
  • V 596
  • W 638
  • Z 652
  • Appendix: - Artists by Nationality 661
  • Museum Abbreviations 673
  • Bibliography 681
  • Index 743
  • About the Author 771
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