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Maps by Willem & Johannes Blaeu

Blaeu maps are among the finest masterpieces of Baroque cartography. Willem Blaeu was a Danish globe maker who apprenticed under the renowned astronomer, Tycho Brahe. By 1595, Willem Blaeu had established his business in Amsterdam, creating mostly instruments and globes, but it was in the publication of his first wall maps in 1608 that gave global recognition to the Blaeu name.

In 1630, Blaeu’s son Joannes joined the business. The partnership was evidenced by their joint names on the maps after 1631. During the years 1634 through 1638, business was booming for the Blaeus with the output of wall maps, globes, charts, town plans, and atlases.

After the death of Willem in 1638, Joannes (also known as Joan) filled his father’s position of cartographer to the East India Company and continued to run the business. Notable accomplishments were Joan Blaeu’s town atlases and "Theatrum," a compilation of volumes with each set featuring around 6oo hand-colored maps. The Blaeu business declined after the printing house in Gravenstraat was destroyed by a fire in 1672.

Quick Facts

  • A number of Blaeu map forgeries are in existence. One such example is the 1642 Willem Blaeu "Americae Nova Tabula" that appeared on eBay in 2011. Printed on modern paper, it bears a wide platemark and fictitious date
  • A complete set of rare Blaeu wall maps of the four continents sold for $141,856 at a Christie’s auction in 2009. The only other complete sets of the Venetian edition of Blaeu continents are housed at the University of Perugia in Italy, the Library of Congress, and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich
  • A 1662 first complete edition of "Atlas Major" by Joannes Blaeu in 11 volumes sold for $882,249 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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(EASTERN EUROPE.) Willem Blaeu; and Hessel Gerritsz. Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae
Dec 08, 12:00 PM EST
(EASTERN EUROPE.) Willem Blaeu; and Hessel Gerritsz. Magni Ducatus Lithuaniae
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$2,40010 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps by Willem & Johannes Blaeu

Swann Auction Galleries

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