Jacob Campo Weyerman was an excellent still life painter who, sadly, led a rather dissolute life. He chose for financial success with a satirical pen dipped in vitriol; he also regularly blackmailed the rich and famous, threatening to publish some nasty details about them. This resulted in him spending the last nine years of his life in prison … .
Our painting dates from the first quarter of the 18th century. Weyerman gave up painting during the first years of the 1720s.
This must be the only 18th century painter of whom we have portraits of both his face and his bottom (as you can see in our comparative works).
About Jacob Campo Weyerman
Army camp of Charleroi 1677 – 1747 Prison of The Hague
Weyerman was active as a flower painter, satirical writer, freebooter and bon vivant.
Pupil of Ferdinand van Kessel in Breda, of Simon Hardimé in Antwerp and of Thomas van der Wilt in Delft.
Son of a soldier in the Dutch army and a marketer.
Weyerman had a very restless, undisciplined character. This hindered his initial attempts to join the army. In 1703 his illegitimate son is born in Breda. In 1704 he leaves as a correspondent for an Antwerp journal to London where he joins the studio of the portrait painter Godfried Kneller (whom he paints flowers, birds and insects for).His first farces get published in Bruges, Ghent and Breda in 1705. In the following years Weyerman was active as a flower painter in London and in the English countryside.
He returned to Holland in the winter of 1709, moving around from town to town: while still painting flower lifes he had more and more success with his satirical farces. At the age of 37, in 1714 he even started studying medicine at the university of Leiden, but stopped already the next year. Two more illegitimate sons are born in this period, in 1715 and in 1717. He will marry their mother only in 1727.
By 1720 he publishes the first of many very successful satirical magazines. From now on he makes his living with his pen: as a translator, journalist and above all as a writer of ironical, sardonic pieces.
Blackmailing the rich and famous also brings in quite a bit of money: in return for important payments certain articles will not be published. Having by now too many enemies (notables from various cities, the Order of the Jesuits and several directors of the Dutch East Indies Company) Weyerman is arrested December 17th 1738. He gets a life sentence and is imprisoned in The Hague. In the following years he writes several praises for the authorities of The Hague. But he will never be released and dies in prison March 9th 1747.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because not many still lifes are known by this flamboyant artist. As it surfaced for the first time on the art market in 1989 at Sotheby’s London, it might be an early work, painted in England before 1710.