The van Huysum Family

The van Huysum family were Dutch painters in the 17th & 18th centuries.  It is such an amazing story to have so much talent in one family.  The van Huysums were successful in their lives, and are ubiquitous still life artists of the Dutch Golden Age, a period that includes Rembrandt and Vermeer, among others.

Justus the Elder van Huysum

The father of the van Huysum artist brothers, Justus was himself the son of a decorative painter and brother of an engraver.  Justus learned painting from the well known Dutch landscape painter Nicolæs Pietersz Berchem.  Justus was known for his flower paintings, which were part of designs he did for homes.  He was also an art dealer, and found a lot of success in the art world.

Jan van Huysum

Justus’ eldest son, Jan was by far the most prolific member of the van Huysum family.  His work seems to just have more joy in it, and certainly is more vibrantly colored than his brothers’ or father’s work.  He was extremely secretive, not even willing to share his painting methods with his brothers, and given his jealousy over the talent of one his students, likely is not the person who taught his own daughter, who was also a painter.  Jan was a very successful painter in life and had several followers,

Francina Margaretha van Huysum

Francina is the daughter of Jan van Huysum.  Her paintings were long attributed to her uncle, Michiel van Huysum.  It appears that Francina copied paintings of Michiel, but there are style difference that eventually would give them away as being hers rather than his.  Her father’s reluctance to share his painting secrets indicates that she may have learned painting from her uncle.  However, that isn’t terribly clear.

Margareta Haverman

The only known student of Jan van Huysum.  Jan took on Margareta as a student, but reportedly became jealous of her talent and stopped teaching her.

Justus the Younger van Huysum

The second brother, and interestingly the most like his father in style.  In my research for this article, I was unable to discover more about him, and it isn’t really clear that the landscape below is not actually by his father.

Jacob van Huysum

The third van Huysum brother, Jacob excelled at botanical illustrations.  He could still paint a beautiful still life of flowers, a hallmark of Dutch painting.  He contributed to the books Historia Plantarum Rariorum (1728-38) and Catalogus Plantarum (1730).

Michiel van Huysum

The fourth, and least known of the brothers, Michiel was credited as the artist on his niece’s work during their lifetimes.  Michiel is considered a student of his brother Jan, but given his brother’s secrecy about his painting methods, it is more likely that he was a follower.