(b Haarlem, c.1612; bur. Haarlem, 17 Feb. 1680). Dutch landscape painter, active mainly in Haarlem. In 1637–44 he was a member of the Dutch West India Company's voyage of colonization to Brazil, where he produced ‘the first firmly documented landscapes painted in the New World by a trained European artist’ (Seymour Slive, Dutch Painting 1600–1800, 1995). He observed the unfamiliar flora and fauna with an appropriate freshness, creating scenes of remarkable vividness and charm, and he continued to paint Brazilian landscapes after his return to the Netherlands (indeed he is not known to have painted any other type of picture). Because of his ‘naive’ style, he has been called the Henri Rousseau of the 17th century, and he was virtually forgotten or regarded as a curiosity until the 20th century.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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