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Number of painters: 177
Last update: Saturday Sept 17, 2022

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Johan De Fre


Johan de Fre was born in Lokeren, Belgium on the 30th March 1952. He moved to Antwerp and there he met the Antwerp Classical School.

More than by composition of the classical still life paintings he became intrigued by the beauty of the small things: a simple apple, one single pear. The reflection of those different objects with their specific 'matiere' grew into an aim on its own.

Looking at things differently:- Is it a painting or not? Next you feel a spontaneous admiration, followed by the essence of the matter, the astonishment: why does this painting move me so much? This is approximately the scenario, reflected in the minds of everyone who observes the paintings of Johan de Fre. Although the answer to the last question might be different for each one of us, the fact remains that the technical perfection of the paintings in itself already demands for a lot of respect. Johan de Fre paints still lifes in oil on panel. He is strongly inspired by the historical tradition of fine art inherited by the old masters such as J. Van Eyck and Frans Snyders. The spell is provided by the almost hyperrealistic textures, contours and nuances in the colours, together with the compostition and the excellent ray of light. So, day to day objects become elevated above the pedestrian. Clearly this genre takes up a lot of time, but there is also a message connected: if you take your time and take a closer look, you get something special back, because 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. Speaking of eyesight - the part we can percept sharply is amazingly little. By moving your focal point you can pull details to the forefront which were initially hidden in the periphery. With his fine brush technique, Johan de Fre turns this visual restriction back into an extra quality. The overall picture will always be more than the sum of all compilated parts.

Since 1989 Johan has exhibited in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and London.