• NameFrans Wouters
  • Activity/Titlepainter, konsthandlare
  • Sexmale
  • Variant namesFrans Wouters
    stavningsvariant: Franchouys Wouters
    stavningsvariant: Franz Wouters
  • Nationality/DatesBelgian, born 1610 - 1614, dead 1659
  • PlacesPlace of birth: Antwerpen, Belgien
    Place of death: Antwerpen, Belgien
BiographyLandscape- and history painter. The son of
Hendrik Wouters, a cabinet maker, Frans Wouters
was born in Lierre. In 1628–1629 he was recorded as
a pupil in Antwerp of Pieter van Avont, and in 1634
he moved to the studio of Peter Paul Rubens, where
he may have worked on the decorations for the Pompa
introitus Ferdinandi. In 1634/1635 he became a master
in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke, of which he later
served as dean in 1649/1650. After entering the service
of the German Emperor Ferdinand II, in 1636 he
accompanied Ferdinand’s ambassador, Clement
Radolti, to England, where he worked on various
commissions for Charles I, including ceiling paintings
with mythological themes for the royal castle. At the
same time, he executed a number of small-scale landscapes
with figures and must also have come into contact
with his compatriot, Anthony van Dyck. By
August 1641Wouters had returned to Antwerp,
where, in his capacity as art dealer, he assisted in the
valuation of paintings from Rubens’ estate. He
remained in the city for the rest of his life. In 1648 he
was involved in the sale of the art collection of the 2nd
Duke of Buckingham by the Parliamentary Commissioners.
At about the same time, Wouters entered the
service of the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. He taught
Jacob Huysmans.
Wouters’ style and subjects are closely linked to the
taste of his clients: the small-scale format of his paint-
ings, their decorative landscape compositions and
largely mythological staffage are related to the fact
that the work was primarily intended for aristocratic
buyers and for the international art trade. After settling
in Antwerp again in 1641, Wouters’ landscape
compositions, often populated with small mythological
figures, were subject to the influence of Rubens’
late work, particularly in the pastoral atmosphere and
the Venetian-looking stands of trees. From about
1648, after entering the service of Archduke Leopold
Wilhelm, Wouters produced work of a different character:
under the influence of Van Dyck, his figures
acquired a more emotive and attenuated appearance
and a greater tension is evident in the more emotional
facial expressions.