Kaemmerer, Frederik Hendrik (Dutch, 1839-1902)

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Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer (1839-1902) was a Dutch painter, who became famous for his refined depictions of Parisian high society.

Kaemmerer began his studies at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, where he studied the Romantic style of paining under the tutelage of Salomon Verveer. The young painter soon became noticed for his superb technical skill, and in 1861 Kaemmerer held his first solo exhibition in Rotterdam. 

In 1865, Kaemmerer moved to Paris and became a student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, where he studied under the Orientalist  painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904). Here, Kaemmerer developed a more Academic style of painting, and began to specialise in 18th Century French genre scenes that frequently depicted elegant members of the nobility. These paintings focused on life during the Directoire period (1795-1799), when Napoleon first took control of the French state after the Revolution. It was a time of great relief and relative freedom, when the middle and upper classes began to dress extravagantly once again. Kaemmerer's speciality for depicting highly finished genre subjects catered to this preference for images of elegance and beauty and secured considerable fame and success for Kaemmerer during his lifetime.

Kaemmerer first exhibited at the Parisian Salon in 1870, where he continued to showcase his paintings until his sudden death in 1902. The artist won a silver medal at the Parisian Exposition Universelle in 1890 and was made a chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur the same year.

Later in his life, Kaemmerer began to produce works in the Impressionist style. His Impressionist paintings enjoyed as much success as his genre paintings; both styles of Kaemmerer’s work can be found in many important institutions and collections around the world.

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