Wilm Wouters began his artistic career relatively late in life. A native of The Hague, he had been a sailor and diamond cutter before enrolling at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam around 1907. During this period he had a studio in the city’s De Pijp district. He was often to be found in the company of his fellow painters and friends Piet van der Hem and Germ de Jong, and paid frequent visits to Leo Gestel’s now legendary ‘Jan Steen attic’. From 1915 to 1928 Wouters lived in Volendam, where he painted interiors and figures, continuing to work in the figurative style he had learned at the art academy. During this time he also married the daughter of the local hotel owner Spaander. In the 1920s Wouters briefly painted still lifes and flowers in Amsterdam, before devoting himself primarily to figural and portrait paintings.