Willem van Odekercken
The Hague or Nijmegen circa 1610 – 1677 Delft
Painter of interior scenes with kitchen maids.
Occasionally he also painted a single still life, portrait, genre scene or a chruch interior scene.
The first record of van Odekercken dates from 1631. He appears in the Painters Guild’s records of The Hague as a pupil paying the reduced entrance fee, normally charged to native citizens. On the other hand his birthplace was traditionally set in Nijmegen. Van Odekercken is documented in The Hague between 1621 and 1640/41.
From 1643 until his death in 1677 he lived in nearby Delft. In 1643 he had joined the local Painter’s Guild. I should mention that he registered as a decorative painter (a so-called ‘kladschilder’ was a house-painter who also produced painted coats-of-arms, decorative motives and calligraphic texts). He successfully ran this business until his death. But it is of course his artistic production that interests us: his paintings are rather rare. During his stay in Delft our painter married twice: in 1640 and in 1658. He had a son and a daughter with his first wife, and two daughters with his second wife. Incidentally his youngest daughter carried the same first name as his first wife: Hillegont.
About our painting
The motif of our painting is Odekercken’s favourite subject: a kitchen maid who is scouring a copper vessel. This theme gave him the occasion to combine a portrait-like genre scene with the representation of the reverberating light on copper and pewter objects. Kitchen maids were a popular theme in Dutch and Flemish painting: just think of Pieter Aertsen, Joachim Beuckelaer, Joachim Wtewael or Johannes Vermeer.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is one of van Odekercken’s most beautiful paintings: a tribute to the labour of a simple kitchen maid, painted with an impressive grandeur often reserved for more important subjects.