Francesco Coleman (Italian, 1851-1918)

An Arab and His Horse Looking Out to Sea
  • WEB IMAGE 024

Francesco Coleman (Italian, 1851-1918), watercolor, signed and inscribed: F. Coleman Roma, 12.5″ x 18.5″

Aliases: Frank Coleman; Frank Robert Theophilis Coleman

Francesco (Francis), born in Rome in 1851, was the sixth child, out of eight, born to Charles and Fortunata Segatori. Francesco’s older brother was the illustrious painter Enrico (Henry) Coleman (1846–1911) and his father was the English painter Charles Coleman. His father traveled to Rome in 1831 and settled there permanently in 1835.

Biographical information on Francesco Coleman is limited and Enrico’s and the other Coleman brothers’ accolades are often mistakenly attributed to Francesco; therefore, it is difficult to draft an accurate biography on Francesco Coleman.

Francesco began his artistic education with his father and almost instantly became intrigued with watercolor technique. He enjoyed painting historical scenes, focusing on historically accurate costumes. Francesco also had the opportunity to take painting classes at the Accademia di S. Luca (Academy of St. Luke), and, like so many of his contemporaries, became particularly interested in Oriental themes.

It is unclear if these accomplishments are accurately attributed to Francesco (Francis) Coleman:

In 1883, Francesco joined the Society of Watercolorists in Rome and, in 1887, he obtained a diploma of honor at the International Exhibition of Dresden.

Between 1880 and 1892 Francesco displayed approximately thirty works in galleries and in exhibitions, including the Royal Academy of London, Royal Society of British Artists, and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In 1888 he exhibited three works at the Italian Exhibition of London, and between 1889 and 1999 he exhibited ten times in Brussels, at the Société Royale Belge des Aquarellistes (Royal Society of Belgian Painters), of which he was an honorary member. Two of his exhibited paintings became part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. In 1893 he took part in an exhibition organized by the Society for Fine Arts in Milan in celebration of their 50th anniversary.

It is believed that three of the Coleman brothers, including Francesco, were featured in the 1932 Italian exhibition “Rome in the Nineteenth Century.” The Coleman brothers were mentioned in the section dedicated to Britain. The painting attributed to Francesco on that occasion was a watercolor, I Sharpshooters in March of 1879, kept at the British School in Rome.

For more information see:

Caroline Juler, Orientalists of the Italian School

L. Jannattoni, Painters Coleman, in the Urbe, XIII (1950), 4, p. 27

U. Thieme-F. Becker, Künstlerlex., VII, p. 198

M. Bean-M. Marini, Costume nineteenth century Rome, Rome 1978, p. 15

Biographical Dictionary of Italians – Volume 26 (1982) by Claudia Storm or Claudia Tempesta

The World, 15 Feb. 1923 (The World is a publication founded in Rome in 1922.)

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