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Adam van Breen

1590 – The Hague – 1645

While we lack precise information about the life of the painter Adam van Breen, it has however been established that he went to work in The Hague between 1611 and 1618. He married in 1611 and the following year, he was registered in the Dutch town’s guild. Essentially a painter of winter landscapes, his style is close to that of Adriaen van de Venne who also worked in The Hague. However, van Breen mainly drew his inspiration from Hendrick and Barendt Avercamp as regards his choice of subjects. Unlike these two artists, the characters he introduced in his compositions are stockier, more assertive and some even sometimes have their portrait painted.

Although he was a landscape artist above all, van Breen was undoubtedly influenced by the official context of The Hague, which was the seat of the court and the government on several occasions. A remarkable school of portrait painters developed here and we often see dignitaries in luxurious clothing in the artist’s paintings. In 1617, he illustrated the work entitled "The military evolutions of the Prince of Nassau". In the 1640s, he left the Netherlands for Norway, where he settled in Christiania, formerly Oslo. Several handsome portraits were executed during this Norwegian period.