Lorenz Frølich

Paintings by Lorenz Frølich

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in October of 1820, Lorenz Frølich was a painter, illustrator, etcher and graphic artist. He initially studied in Copenhagen under painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, now referred to as the Father of Danish painting, and in Dresden between 1843 to 1846 under fresco painter Eduard Julius Bendemann. Frølich later traveled to Paris and studied under historical painter Thomas Couture from 1852 to 1853. 

During his academic period, Frølich was influenced, by the impressionist movement through his friends Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Alfred Stevens, and constantly exhibited his work at the salons. Through his friendship with painter Thorald Læssøe, Frølich met painter and graphic artist John Thomas Lundbye, an encounter which swiftly turned into a close relationship. Existing correspondence between the two men shows their friendship was both intellectual and romantic, and lasted until at least 1840. 

Nordic sagas and the Danish landscape became the focus of both Frølich’s and Lundbye’s work as they traveled the country to depict the national flora, landscapes and local people. The two artists also did extensive illustrative work, specifically for children’s books. There are several personal works showing the strong bond and collaboration between the two artists during this period: a 1839 portrait of Frølich by Lundbye, now in the Hirschsprung Collection; Frølich’s 1939 “Portrait of the painter J. Th. Lyndbye”; caricatures made by Frølich in 1839 of Lyndbye as a dog; and Frølich’s drawing of the two artists painting outside in June 1839.

Lorenz Frølich produced original etchings for the 1853-55 “Illustreret Danmarkshistorie for Folket (Illustrated Danish History for the People)”; the 1844 “De Tvende Kirketaarne (The Second Church Tower)” by Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger; and the 1845 “Die Götter des Nordens (Gods of the North)”. Frølich’s illustrative work for author Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and the editions published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel in Paris, particularly Frølich’s realistic and candid depictions for the work “Mademoiselle Lili à Paris”, brought him recognition as a renowned illustrator.

Frølich was part of a circle of young Danish artists that, during the 1830s and 1840s, directed their attention towards the creation of a nationalistic form of Nordic art, with the aim of imitating nature in its purest form. He married Carolina Charlotta in de Betou in 1855 and was appointed a professor at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1877. For the celebration of Frølich’s eightieth birthday held in November of 1900, Danish composer and violinist Carl Nielsen wrote the “Kantate til Lorenz Frølich-Festen”. Lorenz Frølich died in 1908 in Hellerup, Denmark. 

Insert Image: Lorenz Frølich, “Self Portrait”, 1860s, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 18 cm, Private Collection

Leave a Reply