(b. 1607, Antwerpen, d. 1667, Antwerpen)


Flemish painter, part of the Francken family, son of Frans Francken II. He was elected a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke only in 1639 and became a deacon in 1656-57. Like his father, he signed his pictures with the abbreviation den jon, so that style is the only basis for distinguishing between the two artists. Frans III was said to have been given the nickname 'Rubens-Francken' by his contemporaries, although the oldest record of this nickname is 1883 (Van den Branden). However, it is quite inappropriate as Frans III was merely an inferior imitator of Frans II. Even though his work must be assessed mainly on the basis of the staffage figures he painted for the church interiors of Pieter Neeffs I, the nickname is misleading as any influence of Rubens is undetectable. The signed Scene with Company (Salzburg, Residenzgalerie) shows compositional borrowings from his father and elements of Dutch genre painting; the figures, however, are less skilful and solid than those of his father and more coarsely executed.

Frans III's lack of success is demonstrated by the fact that in 1656 he had to sell the house he had inherited from his father and move into lodgings in Antwerp. Some church interiors previously ascribed to Frans II (e.g. London, Wallace) are actually collaborative works by Frans III and Neeffs.