Caspar Netscher ~ Biography
1639 – January 15, 1684
Caspar Netscher, sometimes called Gaspar, was a renowned painter from the Dutch Golden Age. This was a period in the 17th century Baroque cultural movement of exceptional advancements in Dutch science, trade and art. Netscher is an artist grouped among masters like Rembrandt (1606 – 1669) and Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675).
Though as a famous Portrait painter, Netscher is more closely grouped with other famous Dutch portraitists, like Willem Drost (1633 – 1659), Caesar van Everdingen (1616 – 1678), Govert Flinck (1615 – 1660), Frans Hals (1580 – 1666), and Nicolaes Maes (1634 – 1693). He was also a genre painter, creating and depicting scenes from everyday life. There are not definite details of his early life, although it is said his mother fled war torn Poland with her three children and only Caspar survived the journey to Holland. Though, it is also mentioned that he may have been the son of an artist from Prague.
It is known that he began training as an artist in Arnhem with the painter Hendrick Coster and then in the city of Deventer under Dutch painter, Gerard ter Borch (1617 – 1681). For four years he excelled as a gifted pupil of Borch, and then like many of his Dutch contemporaries, desired exposure in Italy to study the masters. Though Netscher only made it to France where he worked and married, but eventually returned to The Hague back in the Netherlands. It was here, after 1662, that Netscher found a generous patron in the Dutch aristocrat, William III (1650 – 1703).
Much of his early work mimicked the genre painting of his teacher, Borch, but found a more reputable style of the day as a dedicated portraitist. With this reputation and commissions from William III, he went on to paint for English Royal Courts like that of Charles II and other Dutch aristocracy, including biblical and mythological works. Examples of his early genre work are The Lace-Maker and The Cook, now in the Uffizi Gallery and then his exquisite portrait work is exampled by a piece, Portrait of Gentleman Wearing a Red Velvet Coat among many others of Royalty.
As the father of twelve children, two went on to also become painters; Theodorus (1661 – 1732) and Constantyn (1668 – 1722). Netscher’s works are in various collections around the world, in museums such as The Uffizi Gallery, The Colonna in Rome, The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Louvre in Paris, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, U.S., The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, U.S. and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.