Aletta de Frey: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

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Anne Alida de Frey or Freij (September 24, 1768 – 1808) was a Dutch copyist, drawer and painter.

De Frey was born in Amsterdam as the second child of a relations of 3 daughters and two sons. The associates was Roman Catholic. Jacobus Johannes Lauwers from Bruges became the college of Anna and her younger brother Johannes Pieter de Frey, who became a printmaker, painter and publisher. Lauwers lived in their house for a terse while and sophisticated married the eldest sister Maria Christina. On March 22, 1804 Anna Alida and Gerhard Pootmann had the banns published. She used herself upon this occasion the names Anna Aletta. After their marriage (April 4, 1804) they appear to have moved to Mannheim. She can after that be referred to as: Anna de Freij, Aletta de Frey, Anna de Frey, Aletta Pootmann-de Fre.

Anna de Frey was a specialist as copyist from Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu and Emanuel de Witt. She preferred interiors and genre scenes and worked mostly in watercolours. Paintings in oil are rare. But in 1790 and 1810 there have been paintings from her hand for sale on auctions. Her copies were found in recommended art collections at her time, according to contemporaries Van Eijsden and Van der Willegen. They also confirmed that she was a scholarly herself as well.

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