Eglon van der Neer. His Life and His Work In his own time Eglon van der Neer was highly successful. His acclaim endured throughout the eighteenth century. Nowadays he is rated as a second-rate master. Van der Neer was born in Amsterdam in 1635 or 1636 as the son of the now more famous landscape painter Aert van der Neer. He studied with Jacob van Loo in Amsterdam. Between 1654 and 1658 he stayed in Orange, in the south of France, working for the governor Count Dohna. Van der Neer returned to Amsterdam in 1658 where he married the daughter of a wealthy notary, the following year. By 1663, van der Neer had settled in Rotterdam. In 1680, van der Neer moved to Brussels, where he married the miniature painter Maria Du Chastel. On 18 July 1687, van der Neer was appointed court painter to the Spanish king Carlos II, thanks to the efforts of Gasta, the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, his real patron. In 1695 van der Neer established contacts with Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine, who immediately commissioned paintings from him. During his visits to Dsseldorf the artist met his third wife-to-be, the painter Adriana Spilberg, whom he married on 24 December 1697. By this time he had settled in Dsseldorf. In 1698, van der Neer officially became court painter of Johann Wilhelm. Van der Neer died on the third of May 1703, in Dsseldorf. Van der Neer’s preserved output consists of paintings only. Most of them are small and highly finished. Van der Neer treated all genres - history, genre, portrait and landscape – except for still life. His production is largely comprised of genre paintings in the manner of Gerard ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu and Frans van Mieris. However, during the last two decades of his life van der Neer painted landscapes which are excellently executed but little known. They betray a broad variety of stylistic sources, ranging from Jacques d’Arthois to Elsheimer and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Van der Neer was not a skilled figure painter. He successfully camouflaged this by borrowing from the work of more talented artists. His sources are often easy to identify. Another means to distract attention from his shortcomings was to fill his scenes with costly, shiny objects, colourful fabrics and oriental rugs. Van der Neer was unsurpassed in rendering textiles, in particular satin draperies. Adriaen van der Werff was van der Neer’s only pupil. His autobiography, early production and van der Neer’s works from the second half of the 1670s shed light on their relationship. Van der Neer was a very ambitious man who has used his art to climb the social ladder
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