- Potter, Paulus
- Dutch, 1625 - 1654
Paulus Potter came from a family of artists. His father, Pieter Simonsz. Potter (c.1600-1652) was a practicing artist, and his mother, Aaltje Paulusdr. Bartsius, was the sister of the painter Willem Bartsius (born c. 1612). Paulus was baptized in Enkhuizen, on November 20, 1625. In 1631, the family moved to Amsterdam, where, according to Houbraken (see person bibliography), Potter studied painting under his father. Other writers, however, have argued that Potter studied with the Amsterdam painter Claes Moeyaert (c.1590/1591-1655), whose style was similar to that of Pieter Potter.
By 1646 Potter was living in Delft, where he joined the painters' guild on August 6 of that year. In 1647 he seems to have moved to The Hague, for in that year his father registered with the guild in that city and his sister was baptized there. Potter himself is first mentioned in these guild records in 1649. On July 3 of the next year he was married to Adriana Balcken Eynde, the daughter of the city architect. The couple presumably continued to live in a house owned by the landscape painter Jan van Goyen on the Dunne Bierkade, where Potter had lived from 1649 to 1652.
It may have been through his father-in-law, who worked on royal building projects, that Potter came to receive commissions from Amalia van Solms, widow of Frederik Hendrik. Potter executed at least one picture for her, now in St. Petersburg, but apparently did not fulfil other obligations: in 1651 he was sued by the royal court for failure to deliver paintings.
By May 1, 1652, Potter had returned to Amsterdam, according to Houbraken at the bidding of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. In the following year he painted the impressive life-size equestrian portrait of Nicolaes Tulp's son, Dirck Tulp (Six Collection, Amsterdam). Potter died from tuberculosis shortly thereafter, and was buried in the Nieuwezijdskapel on January 17, 1654. Despite the fact that he died at the age of only twenty-eight, Potter's work was both original and influential. From very early in his career, he accorded animals an extremely important position in his compositions, and was one of the first artists to depict them as subjects in their own right. Potter also produced some two dozen etchings of animal subjects.
Although Potter had no documented pupils, he may have influenced Karel du Jardin (c. 1622-1678), for landscapes he produced around the time of Potter's death are quite similar in style. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
- Houbraken, Arnold. De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen. 3 vols. in 1. The Hague, 1753 (Reprint: Amsterdam, 1976): 2:126-129.
- Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 5(1834):113-165; 9(1842):620-628.
- Michel, Emile. Paulus Potter. Paris, 1906.
- Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 4(1912):582-670.
- Zoege von Manteuffel, Kurt. Paulus Potter. Leipzig, 1924.
- Von Arps-Aubert, Rudolf. Die Entwicklung des reinen Tierbildes in der Kunst des Paulus Potter. Halle, 1932.
- Walsh, Amy. "Imagery and Style in the Paintings of Paulus Potter." Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, New York, 1985.
- Sutton, Peter C., et al. Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting. Exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Boston, 1987: 416-422.
- MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School, 1600-1900. Revised and expanded by Christopher Brown. 2 vols. National Gallery Catalogues. London, 1991: 1:313-314.
- Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 197-198.