LOO, van, French family of painters

French family of artists of Dutch origin. They were the descendants of the genre painter Jan van Loo (b. 1585). His son Jacob van Loo was a history and genre painter working in Amsterdam in the Dutch tradition before moving to Paris, where he distinguished himself as a portrait painter. His two sons were both painters in southern France: Jean van Loo (active 1682-94) worked in Toulon, and Louis-Abraham van Loo (c. 1656-1712) in Nice, Toulon and Aix-en-Provence. Of the latter's three sons, Jean-Baptiste van Loo was a successful history painter in Italy and France before achieving even greater success as a portrait painter in England. He had earlier furthered the career of his brother Carle van Loo (Vanloo), the family's most famous member, whose illustrious career was notable for its eclectic diversity of subject and style; he was acclaimed for his history and genre paintings and also for his portraits and decorative work, and his style encompassed influences ranging from Mannerism to Rococo. The third son of Louis-Abraham, Joseph van Loo (active c. 1732), became an engraver. Three of his nephews, the sons of Jean-Baptiste, became painters. The eldest, Louis-Michel van Loo, worked in Rome and Paris but is chiefly distinguished for the powerful influence that he exerted on the development of Spanish painting while working as portrait painter to the Spanish court. The promising career of François van Loo (1708-32) was cut short by his early death. The youngest of the three, Amédée van Loo, became court painter to Frederick the Great of Prussia, producing history paintings and portraits. The family's last recorded artist was César van Loo, the son of Carle; he worked in Paris and Turin, making a speciality of winter landscapes.

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