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Heusch, Willem

HEUSCH, WILLEM, or GUILLIAM DE, a Dutch landscape painter in the 17th century at Utrecht. The dates of this artist's birth and death are unknown. Nothing certain is' recorded of him except that he presided over the gild of Utrecht, whilst Cornells Poelemburg, Jan Both and Jan Weenix formed the council of that body, in 1649. According to the majority of historians, Heusch was born in 1638, and was taught by Jan Both. But each of these statements seems open to doubt; and although it is obvious that the style of Heusch is identical with that of Both, it may be that the two masters during their travels in Italy fell under the influence of Claude Lorraine, whose " Arcadian " art they imitated. Heusch certainly painted the same effects of evening in wide expanses of country varied by rock formations and lofty thin-leaved arborescence as Both. There is little to distinguish one master from the other, except that of the two Both is perhaps the more delicate colourist. The gild of Utrecht in the middle of the 17th century was composed of artists who clung faithfully to each other. Poelemburg, who painted figures for Jan Both, did the same duty for Heusch. Sometimes Heusch sketched landscapes for the battlepieces of Molenaer. The most important examples of Heusch are in the galleries of the Hague and Rotterdam, in the Belvedere at Vienna, the Stadel at Frankfort and the Louvre. His pictures are signed with the full name, beginning with a monogram combining a G (for Guilliam), D and H. Heusch's etchings, of which thirteen are known, are also in the character of those of Both.

After Guilliam there also flourished at Utrecht his nephew, Jacob de Heusch, who signs like his uncle, substituting an initial J for the initial G. He was born at Utrecht in 1657, learnt drawing from his uncle, and travelled early to Rome, where he acquired friends and patrons for whom he executed pictures after his return. He settled for a time at Berlin, but finally retired to Utrecht, where he died in 1701. Jacob was an " Arcadian," like his relative, and an imitator of Both, and he chiefly painted Italian harbour views. But his pictures are now scarce. Two of his canvases, the " Ponte Rotto " at Rome, in the Brunswick Gallery, and a lake harbour with shipping in the Lichtenstein collection at Vienna, are dated 1606. A harbour with a tower and distant mountains, in the Belvedere at Vienna, was executed in 1699. Other examples may be found in English private galleries, in the Hermitage of St Petersburg and the museums of Rouen and Montpellier.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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