BEERSTRATEN, Dutch family of artists

Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, the most successful of the family, was the son of Abraham Danielsz. Beerstraten, a cloth-weaver from Emden. In August 1642 he married Magdalena Bronkhorst, by whom he had five children: Abraham (b. 1644); Johannes (b. 1653); Jacobus (b. 1658); Magdalena (b. 1660) and David (b. 1661). Both Jan and his eldest son, Abraham, specialized in paintings of winter townscapes, sea battles and southern sea ports. Paintings signed J, I, or Johannes Beerstraten are assumed to be by Jan. To date, however, it is unclear who made the paintings signed A. Beerstraten, which differ considerably in quality.

Besides Abraham, a certain Anthonie Beerstraten is said to have been active as a painter of winter landscapes and sea battles in Amsterdam from 1635-65. His relationship to Jan Beerstraten is not known. The better paintings are attributed to Abraham, on the basis of comparison with the View of the Old Town Hall in Kampen (1665, private collection), which is signed Abraham Beerstraten. These include the winter view of the Noorder Kerk in Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Historische Museum), which is signed A. Beerstraten, but not dated. Anthonie is thought to have used rather harsh colours. To him is attributed another painting signed A. Beerstraten, depicting a Southern Seaport with the Mariakerk of Utrecht (1667; Utrecht, Centraal Museum).