Wilhelmus 'Willem' van Leen

Wilhelmus 'Willem' van Leen
01.02.1753 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) - 06.04.1825 (Delfshaven, The Netherlands)

Nationality: Dutch


Wilhelmus ‘Willem’ van Leen was born in Dordrecht. His exact date of birth is unknown, but thanks to archival documents we know that Van Leen was baptized on February 19th, 1753, as the third child of Joannes van Leen and Johanna Koeberg. The father of Van Leen was an art dealer and owned a jewelry and painting shop. Van Leen's father taught him the art of painting and in the painting shop many works were available for study. Van Leen was also apprenticed to other painters in Dordrecht, such as Jan Arends, Dirk Kuipers and Joris Ponsen. Van Leen left Holland at the age of 20 for Paris, where he befriended one of the leading still-life artists of the era, Gerard van Spaendonck (1746-1822). Van Leen focused solely on painting still-lifes of flowers and fruit, a popular genre in his time. After three years he returned to his homeland, where he settled in Rotterdam. The political turmoil between patriots and Orangists drove Van Leen in 1788 to decide to return to Paris. After one year he came back to the Netherlands. He settled in Delfshaven, where he was appointed as a councillor and lived with his three cousins who had a winery. He remained unmarried throughout his life. Van Leen became widely known for his magnificent still-lifes of flowers and fruit pieces. The Grand Duchess of Russia commissioned him to design white Chinese silk hangings for the Pavlovsk Palace in Leningrad. Van Leen was also renowned for his miniatures painted on snuff boxes and he earned a living as an auctioneer and by trading in paintings. Van Leen died on April 6, 1825 in Delfshaven.

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A Flower Still Life

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