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Willem Claesz. Heda

Biographies
Willem Claesz. Heda

*  1594 Haarlem
† 1680 Haarlem


Willem Claesz. Heda occupies front ranks among members of the Haarlem School of still life painters of the "Dutch Golden Age".
In 1594 Willem Claesz. Heda was born son of a n architect in Haarlem. It is not known where Willem Claesz. Heda learned his trade. He presumably joined the Haarlem gild of St. Luke in 1614.
Next to painting, Willem Claesz. Heda was also active in other fields. He was member of a vigilance committee and operated a brewery. It was especially for this trade that Willem Claesz. Heda had generated quite a fortune.
The earliest picture by Willem Claesz. Heda was not a still life but a crucifixion scene (1626). Willem Claesz. Heda was entirely specialized in the "monochrome banketjes", breakfast still lives on a table plate with food items and vessels executed in a sparing coloring. Willem Claesz. Heda became the undisputed master in this field. His still lives, mostly executed on wood and rarely on canvas, were particularly popular with his contemporaries. Even Rubens bought one of Willem Claesz. Heda's works, copies were also in circulation.
Almost his entire body of works was made between 1628 and 1665, afterwards production plummeted, which was presumably due to health reasons – in 1665 Willem Claesz. Heda was over 70 years of age.
Willem Claesz. Heda passed his style on to his students. In 1637 Willem Claesz. Heda had the first apprentice (Arnold van Beresteijn), three more were mentioned for 1642. Besides Gerret Heda, son of Willem Claesz. Heda, it was Maerten Boelema de Stomme and Hendrick Heerschop who learned from him.
Willem Claesz. Heda died a wealthy and acknowledged man in Haarlem in 1680 at the age of 86, for this epoch an almost biblical age.