erik spaans • Link
Jan Looten (1618 - 1681) is a Dutch 'minor artist' who specialized in landscape-paintings. Looten was born and raised in Amsterdam, and joined the militia ('schutterij') there in 1642. In the early years of the Restoration, a somewhat lean time for Dutch artists (worse was to follow) quite a few Dutch painters settled in London in the expectation of economic improvement. Jan Looten was one of them. His studio in St James's Market must have been a starting point for othter Dutch painters who crossed the Channel later on in the 1660s. The animal- and landscape painter Jan Griffier (c 1645 - 1718) who is somewhat better known in England, worked for Looten for a while in the second half of the 1660's. Samuel Pepys visited Jan Looten's studio in 1669 (april 11th) and was unimpressed by the paintings of the Amsterdam master. Pepys however, was directed by Looten to the house of the still life painter Simon Verelst, who lived "close by". The flower pieces by Verelst managed to impress Pepys considerably more. Verelst is described by Pepys as "a painter that was then in the house with him [= Looten]". This probably means that Verelst was employed as Looten's assistant at the time. Not much else is known about Looten's British career apart from the fact that James II happened to own three of his paintings. According to Walpole (Anecdotes of painting in England) he died in 1680 in London. However, 1681 appears to be a likelier year for Looten's death.