Initially father Karel Mortelmans prefered his son Frans would study music and therefor bought him a piano. Buth it was his second son, Lodewijk, who occupied the piano and exchanged drawingschool for musicschool. That’s how Frans became the famous flower painter and Lodewijk the famous composer.
Frans Mortelmans was born on the 1st of may 1865, as the eldest son of 6 children. His father Karel Mortelmans was printer in Antwerp.
He was a painter who "painted" in the full sense of the word. After 15 years of study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp with Luc Schaefels amongst others, he starts his professional life.
As his brother Lodewijk, Frans becomes a member of the artistic circle De Scalden (founded in Antwerp (1889-1914) and presided by Jules Baetes). He participates actively at the expositions organised to promote all kind of art forms. Frans is also member of the circle De Distel. As from 1889, he shows his works at different expositions in Belgium.
Frans Mortelmans is one of the few artists who sells his work in Belgium and abroad. He makes a trip to the Scandinavian countries with a full load of paintings, and sells them all.
In 1903 his work is officialy acknowledged : the Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp buys one of his aquarels. During many years he works as a teacher at the Academy in Berchem; and terminated his career there as director.
He also gaved private lessons to Countess Romania du Bois d'Aische, married to Knight Mayer van den Bergh (see p. 163 Kasteel Hof ter Linden Edegem by Linda De Keuster), aswell to his nephew, the later pastelist Franck Mortelmans (1898-1986), and to Mrs. Van Ingelghem from Luxembourg.
Frans Mortelmans was a very productive painter. His main period is situated around the turn of the nineteenth centuries. He surly was one of the most talented flower painters and still life painters. He had a very own touch (amongst others clair obscur).
Frans Mortelmans is a late-romantic who reaches towards impressionism, whithout losing the true reproduction of his subjet.
His rose paintings, for example, are highly appreciated worldwide.
We refer to the monography Virtuoos bloemenschilder Edition 2009 - see Frans \ Bibliography
In 1892 he married Marie Fontaine.
The couple remained childless, and the heirs only kept the paintings, and cleared all archives, which means only few historical sources remain regarding his works.
To study and to archive as accurately as possible is one of today's task of the Stichting Mortelmans vzw.