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Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
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Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals

  • Frans Hals is often considered the greatest and most iconic portraitist of all time
  • Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer are regarded as the crowning trifecta of artists of the Dutch Golden Age
  • Painted circa 1630, this portrait is exemplary of Hals’ celebrated oeuvre
  • This work showcases Hals virtuosic brushwork and mastery of color
  • Get complete item description here
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Item No. 31-6867

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Description
Frans Hals
1582-1666 | Dutch

Portrait of a Gentleman
(possibly Theodore Blevet)

Oil on panel

“Frans Hals is a colourist among the colourists...Frans Hals must have had twenty-seven blacks.”
-Vincent van Gogh writing of Frans Hals’ genius in a letter to his brother Theo
Letter 536, 20 October 1885.

This masterful and rare oil painting by Frans Hals is a quintessential portrait of the Dutch Golden Age. Painted circa. . .
Read more
Frans Hals
1582-1666 | Dutch

Portrait of a Gentleman
(possibly Theodore Blevet)

Oil on panel

“Frans Hals is a colourist among the colourists...Frans Hals must have had twenty-seven blacks.”
-Vincent van Gogh writing of Frans Hals’ genius in a letter to his brother Theo
Letter 536, 20 October 1885.

This masterful and rare oil painting by Frans Hals is a quintessential portrait of the Dutch Golden Age. Painted circa 1630, this portrait is exemplary of Hals’ celebrated oeuvre and has been verified as an authentic work by the world’s foremost Hals scholars, including the former and current chief curators of the Frans Hals Museum.

Calm, austere and decorous, the portrait depicts a man turning to meet the viewer's gaze. Wearing a dark cloak with a pleated white collar, the sitter holds a quill in his right hand – perhaps indicating his profession as a writer or calligrapher. The canvas is marked with an inscription that reads “He is 30 years old” in Latin.

Imbued with a sense of genteel kindness, Hals renders the sitter’s expressive face with his signature bold, impressionistic brushwork, painting the sitter’s bone structure with a level of realism and precision that naturalistically captures his likeness along with a glimmer of his personality too. This composition also showcases Hals’ remarkable approach to color whilst working with the deceptively simple palettes of the era. In the Post-Reformation Calvinist society, Dutch elites stood at a delicate balance of boasting the fruits of the Dutch East India Company through both their attire and possessions, while also appearing moral and restrained. Thus, virtuosic painters like Frans Hals would render the dark, yet richly textured fabrics of his sitters with a certain air of inconspicuous luxury in an effort to simultaneously conceal and highlight the sitters’ great taste and wealth. Scholars surmise that this portrait of a black cloak and white collar-clad man likely captures calligrapher and schoolmaster Theodore Blevet, noting the sitter’s resemblance to an engraving of Blevet by Theodor Matham done after a lost 1640 portrait by Frans Hals.

This portrait is an unequivocal triumph of Dutch Golden Age portraiture and an exemplary showpiece of Hals’ esteemed oeuvre. It perfectly showcases the technical acuity and emotional intelligence Hals brought to his works, underscoring his mastery over the medium of oil painting and the genre of portraiture. 

Frans Hals’ works grace the walls of the most renowned museums in the world including the Rijksmuseum, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Hals’ namesake museum in Haarlem in the Netherlands. Hals’ compositions are instantly recognizable by both art connoisseurs and casual museum-goers alike. Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer are regarded as the crowning trifecta of painters of the Dutch Golden Age, with Hals specifically holding court as the leader in the realm of portraiture. Scholars today praise Hals as decisively ahead of his time, noting the groundbreaking sense of modernity in his 17th-century works. Hals’ triumphant ability with portraiture has been the subject of several seminal exhibitions mounted at institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art and The Wallace Collection.

Circa 1630

Panel: 17 1/2” high by 14 1/4” wide
Framed: 25 1/2” high by 23 3/8” wide by 2 3/4" deep

Exhibited:
The Hague, Schilderkundig Genootschap Pulchri Studio, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, November 1919, no. 50, illustrated, as Frans Hals
Amsterdam, Maatschappij voor Beeldende Kunst, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 14 December 1919-4 January 1920, no. 28, illustrated, as Frans Hals
Copenhaguen, Staaten's Museum for Konst, Collection Goudstikker  d'Amsterdam, January-February 1920, no. 24, illustrated, as Frans Hals
Christiania [Oslo], Utstillet Christiania Kunstforening, Katalog over Goudstikkers Samling Amsterdam, April 1920, no. 24, illustrated, as Frans Hals
St. Louis, City Art Museum, November 1922, no. 45, as Frans Hals
Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts, January 1923, no. 2, as Frans Hals
New York, The Anderson Galleries, March 1923, no. 48 as Frans Hals
Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 20 December 1924-11 January 1925, no. 30, as Frans Hals
Utrecht, Centraal Museum, December 1925-January 1926, no. as Frans Hals1
The Hague, Schilderkundig Genootschap Pulchri Studio, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 13 March-4 April 1926, no. 66, illustrated, as Frans Hals
Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, 10-25 April 1926, no. 43, as Frans Hals
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Tentoonstelling van oude Kunst, 1929, no. 61, as Frans Hals
Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Catalogus der Tentoonstelling van Schilderijen en Antiquiteiten geexposeerd door den Kunsthandel J Goudstikker NV., Amsterdam, 17 December 1936-10 January 1937, no. 26, illustrated, as Frans Hals
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Tentoonstelling van oude kunst in het Frans Halsmuseum, 4-26 April 1936, p. 17, no. 17, as Frans Hals
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Frans Hals tentoonstelling ter gelegenheid van het 75-jarig bestaan van het Gemeentelijk Museum Haarlem, 30 June 1937, no. 38, fig. 38, as Frans Hals

Literature:
W.R. Valentiner, 'Frans Hals, des Meisters Gemalde', in Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart/Berlin, 1921, p. 80, illustrated, p. 311 as Frans Hals
W.R. Valentiner, 'Frans Hals, des Meisters Gemalde', in Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart/Berlin, 1923, p. 83, illustrated, p. 312 as Frans Hals
C. Grimm, France Hals and his Workshop, will be published in Autumn 2023, no. A3. 13, as Frans Hals

Provenance:
Friedrich W.R.A. Lippmann, Berlin and London
Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam by 1919
Looted by the Nazi authorities in July 1940
Recovered by the Allies in 1945
In the custody of the Dutch Government
Restituted to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker in February 2006
Sale Christie's Amsterdam, 14 November 2007, lot 4
Private Collection, USA
M.S. Rau, New Orleans
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Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin: Netherlands
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.75
Width: 22.38
Height: 25.5
Style: Old Masters
Canvas Width: 14.25
Canvas Height: 17.5
Portrait of a Gentleman by Frans Hals
The Dutch Golden Age and the Dawn of a New Art Market

The 17th century in the Netherlands witnessed the rise of numerous artistic legends, such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, Pieter Claesz, Jacob van Ruisdael and others. This moment in history...

Read more
Buy with Confidence

At M.S. Rau, we are committed to building a long-term, rewarding relationship with each and every client. That’s why your purchase is backed by our 125% guarantee.

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