Equine painter, painter, animal painter, landscape painter, genre painter and draughtsman
Philips Wouwerman was baptised on 24 May 1619 in Haarlem as the oldest son of the painter Pouwels Joostensz. Wouwerman from Alkmaar and his fourth wife, Susanna van den Bogert. Cornelis de Bie relates that Frans Hals was his teacher. In 1638/39 he took a ship to Hamburg, where he was married in a Catholic service to Annetje Pietersz. van Broeckhof. During his stay there he worked briefly in the workshop of the history painter Evert Decker (died 1647). Wouwerman's earliest dated work is from 1639. In 1640 he was back in Haarlem, where on 4 September he joined the painters' guild, in which he served as a juror in 1646/47. Between 1642 and 1655 he was a corporal and pikeman of the St George Militia. He died in Haarlem on 19 May 1668. After the death of his widow in 1670 the couple's seven children inherited a considerable fortune. In 1672 their daughter Ledewina married the painter Hendrik de Fromantiou (1633/34-after 1694). Today roughly 1,000 works are known under the name of Philips Wouwerman; although he was unquestionably one of the most productive Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, many of these works may have been realised by his younger brothers Pieter Wouwerman and Jan Wouwerman, by followers or by copyists. Wouwerman sought out subjects that allowed him to depict horses, at which he was unsurpassed in his time: battles, hunting scenes, soldiers' camps, smithies, riding schools and stables, as well as certain histories and figures of saints. He borrowed various motifs from Pieter van Laer (ca. 1592 or 1595-1642), managing to gain possession of the drawings from that artist's estate, as Houbraken tells us. Nicolaes Ficke, Jacob Warnars, Coort Witholt and Antony de Haen are documented to have been his pupils. Houbraken also mentions Matthias Scheits, Barend Gael and Emanuel Murant. In the eighteenth century, Wouwerman was as famous in Europe as Rembrandt. The series of engravings made by Jean Moyreau from 1737 to 1759 after eighty-nine of Wouwerman's works are the first book of illustrations of a Dutch artist.