JAN VERMEER VAN DELFT
Although very little is known about the life of Vermeer, some details ( referred to here from ART
Das Kunstmagazin, C1084 E, Nr. 4 / April 1983), are of interest.
Vermeer, being unable to live from his painting, practiced the two professions which he inherited
from his father - pub owner and art dealer. Although it seems that he did not sell one of his own
paintings in his lifetime, he did use his paintings as token payments for debts incurred by his pub,
the `Mechelen`, to bakers and food merchants.
When he died in 1675, he left behind a widow and 11 children. His widow gave two paintings to
the baker Hendrik van Buyten in order to pay past debts, and then on April 30 of the following year
she told the city council that she was unable to pay the rest of his debts.
After she died, an auction took place in Amsterdam. The catalogue of this auction lists 21 of his
paintings. The selling prices were between 17 and 175 Gulden .
In 1719 'The Milk Girl' was bought at an auction for 126 Gulden. (For comparison, another
painting of the popular painter at that time, Gerard Dou sold for 6000 Gulden.)
In 1882 A. A. des Tombe, at an auction in Den Haag, purchased the painting, 'Head of a Girl
with Hanging Pearls', for 2.30 Gulden - the price of a small meal.
NOTE: According to "The Dictionary of Art and Artists", by Peter and Linda Murray, England,
1960, Vermeer's wife did NOT use his paintings to pay his debts, but instead was attempting to
get the two paintings back from the baker, offering to pay back the debt over twelve years, but she
finally had to declare bankruptcy.
And, (besides being pub owner and art dealer,) Vermeer was made a Master painter in the Delft
guild in 1653.
DID MRS. VERMEER HAVE ANY HELP LOOKING AFTER THE 11 CHILDREN AND DID
SHE HAVE TO WORK IN THE PUB OR KEEP THE ACCOUNTS STRAIGHT ?
WHOSE REPORT ABOUT THE PAST IS LEGITIMATE ?
WHY DO ARTISTS USUALLY HAVE TWO OR THREE JOBS ?
IF YOUR HOUSE WAS ON FIRE AND YOU HAD AN ORIGINAL VERMEER, WOULD YOU
FIRST RESCUE THE PAINTING OR YOUR GRANDMOTHER ?
KEEP SEARCHING FOR THE VERMEER !!