Josse de Momper II was the leading member of an Antwerp family of artists and dealers. Jan de Momper I (fl 151216) was a painter in Bruges; his son Josse de Momper I (151659) was known as an artist and dealer who moved from Bruges to Antwerp, where his son Bartolomeus de Momper (1535after 1597) inherited both occupations, as well as being an engraver. Bartholomeus s sons Josse de Momper II and Jan de Momper II were both landscape painters, but Josse the younger, an engraver and draughtsman as well, was the outstanding artist of the family. His art, which was popular and influential in his own time, belongs to the transitional period between late 16th-century Mannerism and the tendency towards greater realism that developed in the early 17th century. Although two of Josse the younger s sons, Gaspard de Momper (fl 1627) and Philips de Momper I (fl 162234), were painters, little is known of their work, except that Philips was a staffage painter who executed the figures in some of his father s paintings; he also spent some years in Rome, where he had travelled with Jan Breughel the Younger. Jan de Momper the Younger s son Frans de Momper was, like his uncle, a landscape painter and draughtsman; he worked for 20 years in the Dutch Republic, and his style reflects that of the younger generation of Dutch artists in its monochrome colouring, while owing much to his uncle s influence in the preference for wide vistas. Frans s brother, Philips de Momper II (fl 1622; d 1675), was also a painter.
Josse de Momper II was trained by his father, but he probably went to Italy in the 1580s, in which case he would have seen the Alps: he lived in Antwerp, but his works are invariably of great mountains, sometimes influenced by Bruegel, and they form a transition between Mannerist landscape and the realistic type developed in the Netherlands in the 17th century, e.g. by van Goyen.
His pictures usually have blue mountains
in the background, with a yellowish-green middle distance and a darker foreground peopled by small figures, often painted by Momper himself. Attribution is difficult because of the other members of the family who worked in a similar style. There are several works in Vaduz (Liechtenstein Collection) and four Seasons in Brunswick; others are in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Manchester (Whitworth) and Oxford.