Did Frans Hals paint this?

February 19 2024

Image of Did Frans Hals paint this?

Picture: Rijksmuseum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper has published a very interesting article regarding several questions of attribution in the Rijksmuseum's current Frans Hals show. In particular, the article has drawn attention to comments by the Hals catalogue raisonné compiler Prof. Claus Grimm who has disagreed with the authorship of some of the works within the exhibition. Grimm's upcoming revised catalogue, to be published in co-ordination with the RKD, has already caused a stir by the fact that it has already reduced Hals oeuvre down to a mere 120 works, compared with the late Seymour Slive's 222 in his 1974 publication.

Among the questions raised is whether Frans Hals painted the entirety of the Rijksmuseum's famous Portrait of a Couple.

According to the article:

The Rijksmuseum believes that it was probably a marriage portrait, in which case it would be dated to 1622. Grimm believes that the style of the faces and the attire suggests that it was painted around 1627. But the disagreement goes beyond the dating.

Although Grimm accepts that the portraits of the couple are from the hand of Hals, he says the landscape—a “Garden of Love”—is not. He argues that “Hals may have presented designs for the [background] scenery, but hardly more than that”.

The verdant landscape represents nearly half the composition. Grimm believes that most of this was painted by Pieter de Molijn, a fellow artist in Haarlem. He sees De Molijn’s style in the distant trees and promenading figures.

The Rijksmuseum disagrees. Taco Dibbits, its director-general, told us that it is “all painted by one hand, by that of Frans Hals”. He points out that Hals and Massa were close friends, so the artist took more liberties with the landscape than he would have done with a normal patron.

Click on the link to read more.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.