The influential Dutch artist Johan Meijer was born in Amsterdam in 1809. At an early age he became a pupil of Dutch painters George Pieter Westenberg and Jan Wilhelm Pienerman. Later, he studied at the Amsterdam Academy where he collaborated with Joseph Jodocus Moerenhout.
Painting in oils, Meijer also studied in Paris and was active in France between 1827-30 and again in 1841-46. He exhibited at the Paris salon and was awarded the legion of honor in Paris in 1847. He returned to Holland in 1847 where he settled in the Hague. He is known to have traveled to and painted in the Mediterranean that same year.
As his reputation grew, he also practiced lithography and established a strong following in the Hague where he also taught. Many of the next generation of Dutch marine painters became his pupils.