The biography of Philips Wouwerman (1619 - 1668)

Philips Wouwerman (1619 - 1668), was a Dutch Baroque painter of animals, hunting, landscapes and battle scenes, best known for his studies of horses. He painted several hundred pictures, of varying excellence, but characterized by brilliant color, vivacity, and excellent composition.

Wouwerman (also Wouwermans) baptized May 24, 1619, Haarlem, Netherland. Wouwerman is credited with more than 1,000 pictures, but many of these were painted by his brothers Pieter (1623–82) and Jan (1629–66) and by many other imitators. The most celebrated member of a family of Dutch painters from Haarlem, where he worked virtually all his life, he became a member of guild of painters at Haarlem in 1640.

First trained under his father, Paul Joosten Wouwerman, a painter from Alkmaar, he may also have studied with Pieter Cornelisz., Pieter Verbeeck, and Frans Hals. He appears, however, to have been much influenced by Pieter van Laer (called Bamboccio), a Dutch artist who had lived in Rome and whose pictures of peasants, soldiers, and brigands were influential in northern Europe.

Wouwerman’s authentic works, spirited and polished, are of great variety, showing equestrian scenes, hunting and hawking parties, and landscapes with travelers, cavalry battles and military encampments. He excels in his vivacious treatment of figures, skillful animal painting, and appropriate landscape backgrounds. He is represented in many important European galleries.

Three different styles have been observed as characteristic of the periods of his art. His earlier works are strongly influenced by the Italianate painter Pieter van Laer and are marked by the prevalence of brown tonalities and by a tendency to angularity in draftsmanship. The paintings of his middle period have greater purity and brilliance and they are full of a delicate silvery-grey tone, and his last and greatest pictures possess more force and breadth and are full of a delicate silvery gray tone.

Philips Wouwerman died after a successful career in his hometown in May 1668.