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Immerzeel, Johannes, Jr.

    Image Credit: Wikidata

    Full Name: Immerzeel, Johannes, Jr.

    Other Names:

    • J. Immerzeel

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1776

    Date Died: 1841

    Place Born: Dordrecht, Gemeente, South Holland, Netherlands

    Place Died: Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

    Home Country/ies: Netherlands

    Subject Area(s): Dutch (culture or style) and Flemish (culture or style)

    Career(s): art critics, authors, poets, and publishers


    Writer of a dictionary of Dutch and Flemish artists; art and book dealer; publisher and poet. Immerzeel was the third son of Johannes Immerzeel, a merchant in food, and Elizabet Steenbus. In his youth, Immerzeel studied drawing and painting with Pieter Hofman (1755-1837), but he had to give up this vocation because of his weak eyes. A self-educated man, he spoke several languages and dedicated himself to music and poetry. In 1795, he served as secretary to the court martial of Dordrecht. In 1800, he moved to The Hague with his wife, Adelaïde Louise Françoise Charlotte Cera (1781-1850) and their son. He then was an employee in the governmental administration of the Bataafsche Republiek (Batavian Republic, 1795-1806). He also published poetry. In 1804, Immerzeel started a firm as bookseller and publisher in The Hague, which he later, in a joint venture with the medical doctor J.L. Kesteloot, expanded to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. After its foreclosure in 1811, Immerzeel dedicated himself to writing novels and poetry. Between 1817 and 1826, he was active as an independent publisher, book and print seller, and auctioneer in Rotterdam He then moved his business to The Hague and subsequently, in 1832, to Amsterdam. Following his retirement in 1835, he began composing his three-volume work on the lives and works of Dutch and Flemish painters, sculptors, engravers, and architects, from the beginning of the fifteenth century up to the mid-nineteenth century. It is an impressive collection of biographies, in alphabetical order, of a considerable number of male and, to a lesser degree, female artists. In 1838 he wrote an encomium on Rembrandt, Lofrede op Rembrandt, and he played an important role in the project for erecting a statue of this painter in Amsterdam, which was realized in 1852. He also wrote an encomium on Rubens, on the occasion of the unveiling of his statue, in August, 1840.

    De levens en werken offers an impressive amount of information, though the sources are only occasionally mentioned. Immerzeel relied on existing artists’ biographies as well as on unpublished manuscripts and documents. In addition, he gathered his own information, particularly for contemporary artists. He mentioned the place where works of art were preserved, in private collections, art cabinets, or museums, and he frequently added prices, culled from catalogs of auctions and inventories. He also included entries on art collectors and on important museum collections. He did not comment on the qualities of contemporary artists, but he was eager to redress the negative reputation of some major artists of the past. More than once he accused Arnold Houbraken for having written false stories about Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and others. Toward the end of his life, Immerzeel complained that his eyes grew weaker while he was writing and reading from dawn to sunset. When he died, in 1841, he left his work unfinished. Two of his sons, Charles Henri (1803-1878) and Christiaan (1808-1886), a painter, completed and published the manuscript. They added a number of biographies, mostly of contemporary artists. The brothers also took care of the many woodcuts of artists’ portraits and also included a full page portrait of their father, after a painting by Nicolaas Pieneman (1809-1860). The monograms of a number of artists appear at the end of the dictionary, mostly culled from the 1832-1834 edition of the Dictionnaire des Monogrammes etc. by François Brulliot (1780-1836).

    Immerzeel’s remarkable work was updated between 1857-1864 and complemented by another dictionary, written by Christiaan Kramm, De levens en werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche kunstschilders, beeldhouwers, graveurs en bouwmeesters van den vroegsten tot op onze tijd.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Immerzeel, C. H., and Immerzeel, Christian, eds. De levens en werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche kunstschilders, beeldhouwers, graveurs en bouwmeesters, van het begin der vijftiende eeuw tot heden. Amsterdam: J.C. van Kesteren, 1842-1843. [second edition:] Amsterdam: Gebroeders Diederichs, 1855; Lofrede op Rembrandt. Amsterdam: by den schryver, 1941.


    [obituaries:] Van Duyse, Prudens. [“In memoriam J. Immerzeel, Jr.”] Kunst- en Letterblad 2 (1841): 54-55; Van Duyse, Pr. “Levensschets van Johannes Immerzeel Jr.” De Noordstar 2 (1841): 255-262; Beets, N. “Johannes Immerzeel, Junior.” Nederlandsche Muzenalmanak voor 1842: 167-170; Belinfante, J.J. “Johannes Immerzeel, Jr.” De beeldende kunsten 3 (1842): 49-63; Van der Aa, A.J. Biografisch woordenboek der Nederlanden 9 (1860), pp. 18-20; Zuidema, R. “Immerzeel (Johannes) Jr.” Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek 6 (1924), p. 829; Dongelmans, B.P.M. “Biografische schets” in Johannes Immerzeel Junior (1776-1841): het bedrijf van een uitgever-boekhandelaar in de eerste helft van de negentiende eeuw. Amstelveen: Ernst, 1992, pp. 19-42.

    Contributors: Monique Daniels


    Monique Daniels. "Immerzeel, Johannes, Jr.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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