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Albert Flamen
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A 17th-century Flemish printmaker, painter and draftsman who worked in Paris for most of his career, Albert Flamen is best known for his etched series of fish, birds, animals and landscapes. A prolific artist, he created some 625 prints and a large number of drawings. As a painter, only one surviving work has been attributed to him. Other than information provided by his art, almost no documentary evidence has been found regarding Flamen. Some scholars have assumed that he was Flemish, based on his surname and the use of Flemish captions in some of his prints. Traditionally he is said to have been born in Bruges, although no documentary evidence has been found to support this claim, and a birthdate of around 1620 is based on the dates of his works. He is thought to have gone to Paris sometime around 1635. A record for the period 1636-1650 lists him as married to one Françoise Lamoureux and living in the Parisian parish of Saint Sulpice in what is now the 6th Arrondissement. All of his prints that include a publisher’s address were published in Paris, many by Jacques van Merlen (1616-1682), a Flemish publisher and printmaker who worked in Paris. Many of his works are engravings for emblem books, in which his style appears influenced by the French printmaker Jacques Callot (1592-1635). Several of his series of prints are dedicated to important French churchmen and aristocrats of the period, such as two of his three series of Salt Water Fish, dedicated to Guillaume Tronson, a counselor to the King and his two series of Fresh Water Fish, dedicated to Nicolas Foucquet (1615-1680), a superintendent of finance for King Louis XIV. The five series, totaling sixty prints, accurately depict the various species of fish and shows their habitat. His landscapes similarly accurately describe specific buildings and views. His other prints include religious scenes, contemporary events and allegories. The date of Flamen’s death is not recorded; none of his works have been dated after 1669, but apparently he was active in Paris until 1692 and died sometime after 1693. (TNB 1/2013) Selected bibliography: **Levesque, Catherine, ed. Introduction to “Albert Flamen,” in The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 6 (Commentary), pp. 209-210. New York: Abaris Books, 1986.