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Caspar Netscher

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Caspar Netscher Biography


Heidelberg circa 1639 - 1684 The Hague



Caspar Netscher was the son of Johann Netscher (d. c.1641), a sculptor from Stuttgart, and the daughter of Vetter, the Mayor of Heidelberg. Following the death of his father, Netscher was taken by his mother to Arnhem and placed in the care of a wealthy physician, Arnold Tulleken. He was apprenticed to Herman Coster (fl.1638-1659), a painter of still lifes, genre scenes and portraits. About 1654 he went to Deventer to become a pupil of Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681), who influenced his early portraits and genre pieces.


Netscher set off on a visit to Rome in 1658-59; however, he got no further than Bordeaux where he married Maria Godijn, the daughter of a Walloon Protestant émigré, in 1659. He had returned to The Hague by 1662, when he joined the Confrerie Pictura, the painters’ guild. His high-life genre scenes, with their rich colours and meticulously rendered textures, owe inspiration to the work of Leiden fijnschilders such as Gerrit Dou (1613-1675) and masters of the Delft school such as Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684) and Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).


After circa 1667 Netscher concentrated on portraits, painted in the small format of his genre works and given elegant, sometimes allegorical trappings such as fountains and sculpture which appealed to the courtly clientèle of The Hague. By 1670 he was the most sought-after portrait painter in The Hague, assisted in his studio by his sons Theodorus (1661-1728) and Constantijn (1668-1723). He also made small-format history and religious pictures, some of which were published as prints. Netscher was a fine draughtsman and made life studies for his genre scenes, as well as ricordi, drawings which serve as a studio record of his compositions, sometimes annotated with dates, prices and colour notes. Caspar Netscher died of gout in The Hague in 1684.


The work of Caspar Netscher is represented in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden; the Louvre, Paris; the National Gallery, London and the Wallace Collection, London.



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