About Jan Pauwel Gillemans II
Flemish still life painter
Antwerp 1651 – 1704 Amsterdam
Still life painter of fruit, flower and hunting scenes.
Son of Jan Pauwel I (Antwerp 1618 – 1675 Antwerp), who was also a well-known still life painter.
His parents had eight children; he was the only one to chose for the same career as his father.
Pupil of his father and from the year 1665/66 onwards of Joris van Son (Antwerp 1623 – 1667 Antwerp), another Flemish still life painter who, in his garlands of fruit, had already influenced his father, Jan Pauwel I.
Dean of the Painter’s Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp in 1696. He had joined the Guild as a master in 1673/74.
His wife, a daughter of the sculptor Norbeert van den Eynde, died in 1697; five months later he already re-married.
Jan Pauwel II joined the Painter’s Guild of Middelburg in the Dutch Republic in 1702. At the very start of his career, in 1675, he had already received a fine from that guild for being active as a painter in Middelburg without being member of the local Painter’s Guild.
Our painter died in Amsterdam in 1704 and was burried there.
According to Jacob Campo Weyerman in the third of his four volumes (1729 – 1739) with The Lives of Dutch painters and paintresses, Gillemans drowned in a canal, after he had been drinking too much. Weyerman’s Lifes are known for their anecdotes, although it is not clear how many are based on truth and how many on fiction.
The later works of Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Elder are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the early works of his son, the Younger. Generally speaking, the works of Jan Pauwel II have a less forceful and more decorative character than those of his father, whose colour palette was more limited. The still lifes of Jan Pauwel I have generally a dark background, reflecting the influence of the major Dutch still life painter Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606 – 1684 Antwerp). Following his early years in Leiden de Heem is documented from 1636 in Antwerp. He probably returned to his birthplace Utrecht in the early 1660s, but left again for Antwerp after the French advance to Utrecht in the so-called “disaster year” of 1672.
Our painter strongly influenced a Flemish painter who has remained anonymous: today he is erroneously called the Pseudo-Simons.
About paintings on copper
Seventeenth century Flemish (and Dutch) artists painted on oak panels, on canvas and on copper. Copper was the most expensive, but also the best support. Wooden panels can suffer from sudden changes in the degree of humidity, canvasses can be torn, while copper plates are less vulnerable.
Because of their even, highly rigid and non-absorbent surface, coppers did not need a preparatory layer (sometimes only a very thin ground) and one can paint extremely precisely, the paint could be applied almost without any visible brushstrokes. In old recipes it was advised to rub the copper plate with garlic, so that the oil paint would adhere better.
As copper was more expensive and as one could paint in a very detailed way on them most copper plates are therefore of rather small dimensions. Artists painted on copper delicate, elaborate and highly finished paintings with brilliant pictorial effects.
Another advantage of 17th century copper plates today is the fact that they have very little craquelures.
Why should you buy this pair of paintings?
Because both paintings are painted on copper, the best support for these highly detailed still lifes.
Because both paintings hold a playful multitude of carefully detailed insects: butterflies, moths, caterpillars and ladybugs.