Franciscus Hamers, dozijnschilder in Antwerpen

in Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries
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Abstract

In I987 a painting with illegible signature was shown at the RKD. When in spring 2002 a painting with similar signature came alight at a Paris art-dealer, it proved possible to read the signature correctly and identify the artist as the Antwerp-based Franciscus Hamers, only known through his membership of the guild in I674. Several other paintings could be attributed to him either on stylistic grounds or by recognising the characteristic signature. The paintings presented here show that he proved to be what was known in the seventeenth century as 'dozijnschilder' (lit: dozen painter), assembling his works by imitating, borrowing and copying from examples by other artists, notably Haarlem painters such as Pieter van Laer, Philips Wouwerman and Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem. This proved to be a typical feature of the artistic climate in the I670s in Antwerp when economic recession forced many artists to produce paintings and copies by the dozen for art-dealers such as Guillaume Forchondt and Bartholomeus Floquet who then exported these paintings to France, Austria, Spain and Portugal.

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