Frisian museum buys Alma-Tadema painting

Entrance to a Roman Theatre by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Fries Museum buys “key painting” by Alma-Tadema

Today, 14:50

The Fries Museum in Leeuwarden has purchased a work of the Anglo-Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema for 1.6 million euro. It is Entrance to a Roman Theatre from 1866; the most expensive purchase that the museum ever did.

The museum calls the painting a key work from the oeuvre of Alma-Tadema. It was the international breakthrough for the Frisian.

“A similar work by Alma is not found in the Netherlands,” says a spokesperson. “The Fries Museum is now the only museum in the Netherlands showing the full development by the painter.”


Lourens Tadema was born in 1836 in Dronrijp in Friesland. When he moved to London in 1870 he anglicized his name to Lawrence. Later, he also acquired the right to call himself ‘Sir’.

In England he developed into one of the most important painters of his time. He was known for his genre paintings with Roman or Greek themes.

Biggest collection

The Fries Museum has the largest collection of his work in the Netherlands. This new masterpiece was purchased with the support of some private donors, the Rembrandt Society, the Mondriaan Fund and the BankGiro Lottery.

“The work of Alma-Tadema has risen sharply in price in recent decades,” the spokesperson said. “It is special that the Fries Museum has managed to acquire this important work.”

Next year the museum will have a major exhibition on the painter. People will already be able to see Entrance to a Roman Theatre later this year.

See also here.

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