(Rotterdam 1619 - Amsterdam 1693)
Willem Kalf was born into a prosperous family in Rotterdam; his father was a cloth merchant, but also held municipal posts. Between 1642 and 1645, Kalf sojourned in Paris, where he spent time in the circle of the Flemish artists in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and it is here that his artistic career began to take shape, with his work appealing greatly to both art dealers and collectors.
In Paris Kalf painted mainly small-scale rustic interiors and still-lifes. His rustic interiors are typically dominated by groups of vegetables, buckets, pots and pans. Kalf developed the banketje 'little banquet pieces' into into a novel form of sumptuous and ornate still-life (known as pronkstilleven), depicting rich groupings of gold and silver vessels. Like other still-lifes of this period, these paintings were usually expressing vanitas allegories. In 1645 Kalf returned to the Netherlands where he made a very comfortable living by selling his paintings to the wealthy, and later on transitioned into an art collector and dealer.