PIETER WITHOOS (Amersfoort 1654 – 1692 Amsterdam)

Pieter Withoos

Pieter Withoos (Amersfoort 1654 – 1692 Amsterdam)

A Thrush on a Branch

Watercolour, brown ink framing lines, watermark IHS, 183 x 191 mm (7.2 x 7.5 inch)

Signed with monogram ‘P:W: fe:’ (pen and grey ink, lower right)

Private collection, France


Pieter Withoos was born into an artistic family: his father, Matthias Withoos (1627–1703), was a painter of still-lifes and town views, while four of Pieter’s siblings also took up artistic pursuits, Jan, Alida, Maria and Frans Withoos.1 Pieter was born shortly after his father’s return from a Grand Tour to Paris, Florence and Rome, where he was patronised by Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici. Like his brothers and sisters, Pieter was taught by his father, who in his turn had been taught by Jacob van Campen. In 1672 the family moved to Hoorn to escape the occupation of Amersfoort by the troops of Louis XIV. During the 1680s, Pieter lived in Utrecht, and later in Amsterdam.

Pieter was mostly active as an artist in watercolours, producing detailed depictions of birds, flowers and insects. From the late 1680s he was patronised by the botanist Agnes Block, who lived on the Vijverhof estate near Amsterdam, where she collected birds and plants, including the first fruit-bearing pineapple. Pieter’s sister Alida Withoos (c.1660–1730), also produced drawings and watercolours for Block.

Drawings by Pieter Withoos are relatively rare and are infrequently encountered on the art market. Our sheet is beautifully preserved and monogrammed by the artist and can be compared to a watercolour of a snipe in the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam (fig.).2

1. For the artist, see M.W. Heijenga-Klomp, ‘Matthias Withoos (ca. 1627-1703) en zijn kinderen. Een Amersfoortse schildersfamilie’, Flehite, Historisch Jaarboek voor Amersfoort en omstreken, 2005, pp. 108-131, esp. pp. 124-128.
2. Watercolour, 191 x 220 mm, inv. no. RP-T-1900-A-4492.