Painter, landscape painter, marine painter, etcher, commercial artist and draughtsman
"Jan Griffier was probably born around 1645 in Amsterdam. He received his training first from an unknown flower painter and later from Roelant Roghman in Amsterdam. In 1667 he travelled to London and completed his training with the Dutch landscape painter Jan Looten. Griffier stayed in England for several years and lived on a boat on the Thames. From there he painted topographical views of London and its surroundings as well as fantasy landscapes. In 1695 he returned to the Netherlands with his family, bringing with him a large number of paintings intended for sale and to make a living. However, a shipwreck off the coast of Rotterdam destroyed these plans. Griffier settled in Rotterdam, where he encountered the imaginative Rhineland landscapes of Herman Saftleven, which influenced his artistic work in the following years. As soon as he was financially able to do so again, Griffier bought himself another boat, according to the art writer Arnold Houbraken. He chose Amsterdam as his starting point, but lived mainly on Dutch waters. The painter probably stayed in the Netherlands as late as 1700, for on 14th of July that year a Johannes Griffier enrolled in the Studiosorum album at the Leiden university art academy. Later, the painter returned to England, settled in Millbank, London, and died there in 1718.
Supported by the Duke of Beaufort, Griffier was one of the most famous landscape painters in England. He became known above all for his views of the Rhine, but he also painted italianising landscapes, which, populated by groups of bathers, reveal the influence of Cornelis van Poelenburch. Griffier also made etchings, preferably of birds and animals. His sons Jan Griffier II (ca. 1673−ca. 1750) and Robert (1688−ca. 1760) also became painters. Their works are sometimes difficult to distinguish from those of their father."