Willem van Nieuwenhoven was born in Rotterdam in 1879. After attending the evening class at the academy there, he went to Heeze, where many painters of landscapes and peasant interiors went at the time. He was particularly fascinated by the life of the peasant population. This is probably why he moved to picturesque Laren around 1908. There he concentrated on painting figures in a loose, free brushstroke. His painting style becomes more refined over the years. He therefore begins to paint portraits and craftsmen: a shoemaker, a drinking man, a scholar. Van Nieuwenhoven also became known for his miniature portraits painted on ivory. The painter was a member of the 'Club van 10 van Hamdorff' and of the Gooische Schildersvereeniging.