The son of the still life painter Pieter Claesz., Berchem’s name derives from the Flemish town in which his father was born. He joined the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke in 1642, and travelled with Jacob van Ruisdael (q.v.) through Westphalia c.1650. From the mid-1650s until his death he worked between Haarlem and Amsterdam, and his pictures became brighter and more Italianate in style. Berchem expanded his repertoire in the 1660s to include imaginary Mediterranean harbour scenes, idyllic classical landscapes, histories and allegories. He also collaborated with many of his contemporaries, adding figures to works by artists such as Ruisdael, Hobbema and Jan Baptist Weenix (qq.v.). His many pupils and followers, including Karel Dujardin and Jan van Huysum (qq.v.), ensured the continuation of his influence long after his death.