Little is known about the life of this Flemish artist. He was born about 1642 in Brussels, where he seems to have studied in the drawing academy that Michael Sweerts (1618-1664) ran from 1656 to 1658. It is not known when Reuter traveled to Italy, but probably around 1660. In Rome Reuter joined the Bentvueghels, an artists' fraternity of which Sweerts was a member, for social and cultural reasons. Although the Dutch and Flemish artists who formed the majority of the artists belonging to the Schilderbent (painters' clique) worked in many styles, they shared an interest in depicting scenes derived from daily life. Like many members of the group, Reuter lived in the "casa dei pittori fiamminghi" in the Via Margutta, near the Piazza del Popolo. In 1672 Reuter married Anna Prefitella in the Roman parish of San Lorenzo in Lucina. At the end of the decade he and the artist Theodor Helmbreker (1633-1699) were identified as members of a group known as the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon. Reuter died in Rome on 26 September 1681. Reuter's paintings are quite rare. His known works, which relate to those of Sweerts and Jan Miel (1599-1664), consist of depictions of markets and processions in Roman piazzas and religious scenes situated in landscape settings. His compositions have a classicizing character, with statuesque figures placed in architectural settings or idealized landscapes. His forms are firmly modeled, and he applied his colors with restrained clarity. As Reuter never dated his works, his chronology is difficult to determine. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]  Giuliano Briganti, "Willem Reuter," Paragone 9, no. 124 (March 1960): 45-47.
Briganti, Giuliano, Ludovica Trezzani, and Laura Laureati.
I Bamboccianti: Pittori della vita quotidiana a Roma nel Seicento. Rome, 1983: 327-335.
Levine, David A., and Ekkehard Mai, eds.
I Bamboccianti: Niederländische Malerrebellen im Rom des Barock. Exh. cat. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Stadt Köln; Centraal Museum Utrecht. Milan, 1991: 262-263.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr.
Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2005: 140.