Spohler, Jan Jacob

Jan Jacob Spohler was born in Nederhorst den Berg in 1811. He studied under Jan-Willem Pieneman (1779-1853), director of the Royal Academy in Amsterdam, and went on to specialise in summer and winter landscapes. His most popular works, however, were his typically Dutch ice scenes with skaters. At the age of 23 he married Catharina Wilhelmina Elisabeth Giethoorn of Amsterdam. The couple went on to have four daughters and three sons, two of whom also became painters. The eldest, Jacob Jan Coenraad (1837-1894), followed in his father’s footsteps as a landscape specialist, but Johannes Franciscus (1853-1894) devoted himself to city views. Both were taught by their father, as was Willem Vester (1824-1895) from Haarlem. In 1845 Spohler senior was admitted as a member of the Royal Academy in Amsterdam, and he also exhibited at the Exhibitions of Living Masters in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leeuwarden.

The ice scene was a particularly popular theme with collectors in the nineteenth century. One of the great masters of this genre was Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870): his winter landscapes were without equal. But his pupils Charles Leickert (1816-1907), Nicolaas Roosenboom (1805-1880) and Lodewijk Johannes Kleijn (1817-1897) also produced numerous fine works in the same vein. Although never taught by Schelfhout, Jan Jacob Spohler is their equal in name and fame.

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