Portrait of a Man, Wearing an Embroidered Collar over Armour

Wallerant VAILLANT (Lille, 1623 - Amsterdam, 1677)


A painter, draughtsman and printmaker, Wallerant Vaillant was born in Lille, one of five brothers who all became artists. He is thought to have trained with Erasmus Quellinus the Younger in Antwerp, and in 1643 settled with his family in Amsterdam. Vaillant is perhaps best known for his mezzotint prints, and is thought to have learned the technique from its inventor, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, while in Frankfurt in 1658. Indeed, he may even have assisted Rupert on some of the latter’s plates, and it may have been as a result of Vaillant’s skill that Rupert’s later mezzotints are more ambitious and technically superior to his work in the medium. Rupert and Vaillant travelled together to London for a brief period before the latter settled in Paris for five years. From 1665, when he returned to Amsterdam from Paris, Vaillant began producing numerous mezzotints, publishing them himself and eventually becoming one of the first professional advocates of the medium. He eventually produced around two hundred mezzotints, both reproductive works and compositions of his own invention. The biographer Joachim von Sandrart noted that Vaillant’s mezzotints were much sought after by collectors. Appointed court painter to the Prince of Orange, John William Friso, Vaillant lived and worked in Amsterdam for the remainder of his career.