CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Henri de Fromantiou – Vorstelijke Illusies

Henri de Fromantiou - Royal Illusions Exhibition: 6 March - 28 June 2015

Information from the museum, 14 January 2015

The exhibition will emphasise Henri de Fromantiou’s oeuvre and his heyday as a court painter in Potsdam. He created many still lifes for the palaces of Frederick William I, Elector of Brandenburg. De Fromantiou’s talent allowed him to portray a royal world in prestigious still lifes of game and of luxury products like flowers and fruit. Over the years, his name fell into oblivion and his paintings were wrongly attributed to great masters like Willem van Aelst, Jan Davidsz de Heem and Jan van Huysum.

Henri de Fromantiou
The words ‘Henricus de Fromantiou, pictor De Sa Serenité Electorale de Brandenburg’ are inscribed on the portrait of Henri de Fromantiou (1633/34-1694/1700), who was active as a still life painter in the second half of the seventeenth century. The painter, who grew up in a family with a military background, left at an early age for The Hague and then went on to Amsterdam in the hope of making a name for himself there. His search and his efforts were finally rewarded, as in 1670 he was appointed court painter to Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg. However, De Fromantiou was more than just a painter. He was an ambitious, versatile, well-travelled person, who also acted as an intermediary between the elector and art dealers. As Frederick William’s agent, he built up an international career and moved in the highest social circles.

There is no monograph on the painter Henri de Fromantiou and the literature about him is very limited. The catalogue to accompany the exhibition will fill this art-historical gap. It will contain articles about Henri de Fromantiou’s exceptional life, his oeuvre and his role as an art dealer. It will also include illustrations and information about all his paintings, in a summary of his complete oeuvre.