Jan Frans van Bredael (1683-1750)
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Jan Frans van Bredael was a Flemish painter, born in Antwerp, Belgium. He was the son of painter Alexander van Bredael, whom he most likely received his first training from. He came from a family of painters in fact, as his grandfather Pieter was also an artist, as well as his cousin, Joseph. Lesser known, but also notable was his son, Jan Frans van Bredael the younger, also a painter. These van Bredael’s were formerly known as “Breda” until it was discovered that Jan Frans finished their name with an “l” on a painting owned by an Amsterdam gallery.
Though he was a talented artist, some may say that the younger van Bredael was not an original artist. Art historians say that he imitated the style of Breughel and Wouverman so well that even the most experienced and knowledgeable experts were unable to distinguish his copies from their originals. These were generally landscapes of cities on the riverbank, bustling with action and lively figures, as well as scenes of wartime and cavalry. Although most of these pictures were painted in the 18th century, some featured figures shown in early 17th century attire, which is a sure sign of the inspiration (or even a copy of) the works of the Old Master Brueghel. Van Bredael also painted his lively waterfront country scenes in oil on copper, as opposed to board or canvas, making him very unique in terms of the materials that he used.
Early in his career, he visited England where he received continuous commissions. One of his most frequent and prominent patrons was the Earl of Derwentwater. Van Bredael was so successful that after only a few short years he was able to retire to his home country after only a few years. He died in Paris while under the commission of the Duc d’Orleans.
Many paintings that were once thought to have been painted by van Bredael’s cousin Joseph have since been attributed to Jan Frans, and some still are in question by art historians. This is due to the fact that the two artists painted in a very similar hand. It is also possible that the two collaborated on paintings and worked together. Today, van Bredael’s works are housed in Dresden, Vienna and at the Louvre in Paris, and perhaps in your own home. Still wondering about an 18th century Flemish painting in your family estate? Contact us…it could be by Jan Frans van Bredael.