Frere, Charles-Theodore (French, 1814-1888)

Return To Glossary

Charles-Theodore Frere (21 June 1814 - 24 March 1888) was an important French Orientalist painter who frequently exhibited works in the Paris Salons in the second half of the 19th Century. Frere was apprenticed under Jules Coignet, the landscape artist and then Camille Roqueplan, who painted Romantic landscape, genre and historical scenes. Frere exhibited in the Paris Salon for the first time in 1834, and returned to showcase his work the following two years.

In 1837, Frere visited Algeria, which prompted him to produce his first grand Orientalist painting, which he exhibited in the Salon of 1839. From this point onwards, Frere only produced paintings of the Muslim world. The artist lived in Algeria for a year, where he enjoyed the patronage of King Wurttemberg. Frere travelled to Algeria almost every year until about 1850. The following year, he began to journey further East. Frere lived in Constantinople for 18 months, before travelling to Syria, Palestine, Nubia and Egypt, where he had a studio in the capital.

After three years of travelling the East, Frere returned to Paris. The paintings he exhibited in the Paris Universal Exhibitions of 1855, 1867 and 1878 were all inspired by his experiences abroad. Frere's last trip to Egypt was in 1869, when he accompanied the Empress Eugenie to open the Suez Canal.

Frere's Orientalist paintings were very popular among collectors and royalty, and his works can now be viewed in important institutions including the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.