A prominent member of the Antwerp mercantile community, Vezeleer's surname suggests a possible origin in the Lower Rhenish city of Wesel, but his birthplace is unknown. In 1518, he married Margaretha Boghe. The couple had three daughters and a son. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Jacob Hoefnagel, a merchant, and had twelve children, including the well-known Antwerp painter Joris Hoefnagel (1524-1600). Elizabeth's youngest daughter, Suzanna, married Christian Huygens in Amsterdam and was the mother of the Dutch stateman and poet Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687). Vezeleer began his career as a goldsmith, and in 1524 was dean of the gold and silversmiths' guild, but spent most of his life as a merchant, financier, and entrepreneur. From probably 1545 on, he served as mintmaster of Brabant. His dealings were primarily in "objets de luxe," often with Francis I of France and later with Henry II. Between 1533 and 1535, Vezeleer had a chateau built just outside Antwerp; the structure is no longer extant. The estate inventory made after Margaretha's death in c. 1575 lists portraits of the couple which very probably correspond to those in the NGA collecion today (1969.9.1 and 1969.9.2). Their tombs in Antwerp are no longer extant, although the inscriptions on them have been recorded.
Worp, Jacob Adolf, ed. De Briefwisseling van Constantijn Huygens. 6 vols. The Hague, 1916: 5:162-163.
Coornaert, Émile. Les français et le commerce internationale à Anvers. 2 vols. Paris, 1961: 1:343-344; 2:35, n. 2, 49, 167, n. 5.
Duverger, Josef. "Jan Gossaert te Antwerpen." Bulletin Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen 19 (1968): 21.
Kerkhove, A. van den. "Joris Vezeleer, Een Antwerps Koopman-Ondernemer van de XVIde Eeuw." Annalen 63 Congres Sint-Niklaas-Waas 1974: 326-334.
Hand, John Oliver and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1986: 57-62.