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Willem Kalf

A Barn Interior with an old Woman and a Still Life of Vegetables

Willem Kalf

Signed and dated, upper left, above the fireplace: KALF 1644
Oil on copper, 6½ x 5½ ins. (16.5 x 13.9 cm)



Private collection, The Netherlands, before 1977
Anonymous sale (‘The Property of a Gentleman’), Christie’s, London, 2 December 1977, lot 43
With Robert Noortman Gallery, London and Maastricht, April 1978-81 (advertised in Die Weltkunst, 1981, no. 17)
Private Collection, U.S.A., by 1994
With S. Galitch, Nyon, 1994
With P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 20 October 2000
With David Koetser, Zurich and New York, 6 April 2003-2006
Private collection, The Netherlands, until 2019


F. G. Meijer, ‘Katalog der Werke von Willem Kalf’, in Gemaltes Licht.  Die Stilleben von Willem Kalf 1619-1693, F. G. Meijer, J. Giltaij and P. van den Brink (eds.), exh. cat., Rotterdam, 2006, cat. no. A6, reproduced p. 160. 


Robert Noortman Gallery, London, A selection of important paintings by old and modern masters from our 1981 collection, 1981, no. 9


Willem Kalf was baptised on 11 March 1619, the son of a successful textile merchant and a member of the Rotterdam Town Council.  His father died in 1625 and his mother in 1639.  The name of his teacher is not known.  Houbraken claimed that he studied with Hendrick Pot, but Kalf’s earliest works resemble the peasant interiors and still lifes of metalware by the local expatriate Flemish artist François Ryckhals.  Around 1639/40 and certainly by 1641 Kalf travelled to Paris where he was active until 1646: in October of that year he was back in Rotterdam.  In 1651, he married Cornelia Pluvier, a talented poet, composer and calligrapher, in Hoorn.  They both became Roman Catholics. Cornelia Kalf later met Constantijn Huygens, who wrote a poem in honour of her and her husband.  The couple had settled in Amsterdam by 1653 when Willem joined the local Guild.  Documents record his presence in Amsterdam from 1654 to 1690.  However, after about 1680 he seems to have worked primarily as an art dealer.  His last dated paintings are of 1679/80.  He died in Amsterdam on 31 July 1693.  Houbraken described Kalf as a friend and helpful man and a good raconteur, and praised his art and wide experience.  The poet Joost van den Vondel also offered poetic praise for Kalf’s art.

Willem Kalf

Rotterdam 1619 – 1693 Amsterdam

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