Jan Weenix

Jan Weenix (164? – September 19, 1719 (buried)) was a Dutch painter. He was trained by his father, Jan Baptist Weenix, together with his cousin Melchior d'Hondecoeter. Like his father, he devoted himself to a variety of subjects, but his fame is chiefly due to his paintings of dead game and of hunting scenes. Many pictures in this genre formerly ascribed to the elder Weenix are now generally considered to be the works of the son.

Weenix was born in Amsterdam; his date of birth is not exactly known. The year in which his father died is also a puzzle. The family lived in a castle outside Utrecht, but his father died young and in poverty, after he went broke. Weenix was a member of the Utrecht guild of painters in 166and 1668. By the age of twenty Jan Weenix rivalled and then subsequently surpassed his father in breadth of treatment and richness of colour. In 167when Jan Weenix married Pieternella Backers he told the sheriff he was 'around thirty'!

In 1697 he made a portrait of Peter the Great, visiting the Republic to study shipbuilding, science and the art of fortification building. At that time Jan Weenix was employed to decorate a private house near the Admiralty of Amsterdam. The mansion, on a canal with many rich Sefardim, with a view on the park and in to a long avenue, was owned by a Spanish merchant, involved in sugar plantations in South America. The five fixed paintings or wallpaper on canvas became very popular in the second half of the 18th century, when nature and Rousseau were fashionable and copied. The wallpaper survived in the house until 1921. Then the enormous 'paintings' were sold by the nuns - who moved in - to William Randolph Hearst in a private arrangement. After Hearst went broke, the paintings have been dispersed; one is in the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, two are in Hotel Carlyle in New York, one is in the Allen Memorial Art Museum since 195and one is lost.Landscape with a Huntsman and Dead Game (Allegory of the Sense of Smell) (National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh)

Between 170and 171Weenix was occupied with an important series of twelve large hunting pictures for the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm's castle of Bensberg, near Cologne. Also Eglon van der Neer, Rachel Ruysch, Adriaen van der Werff had a very good relation with the court, being paid well or knighted as ridder and most probably meeting an international crowd of artists and musicians. The treasury was empty when Jan Wellem, as he was called in Düsseldorf, died. Most of this collection is now at the Munich Gallery, but the paintings of Van der Werff moved to the cellar.

Jan Weenix, who at the end of his life lived in a house on the Amstel, was buried in a nearby church on Rokin.After the Hunt Work

Many of his best works are to be found in English private collections. Though the National Gallery, London has only a single example, a painting of dead game and a dog, the Wallace Collection, also in London, has a number of paintings, including the intriguingly disturbing 'flowers on a Fountain with a Peacock.' Jan Weenix is well represented in the galleries of Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Berlin, and Paris. A medium sized Weenix, 'Still Life with Dead Game' hangs in the dining room of the Filoli estate in California. A certain 'Still Life with Hunting Trophies' hangs in the Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC. 'Boy with Toys, Pet Monkey and a Turkey' is in the Kresge Art Museum.


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