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FAA Newsletter IV

Dear [firstname] [lastname],

We wish all our subscribers a Happy New Year!

Exhibition Cologne 2008

It is with great pleasure that we announce an exhibition of the Kremer Collection in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud in Cologne. During this exhibition, to be held from
July 11- 5 October 2008 (dates subject to change), all of the Old Masters in the collection will
be exhibited. The exhibition will be the first time that the collection will be shown in its entirety.
It will comprise the 39 works published in our catalogue in 2002, including Rembrandt’s Bust of
an old man with turban, Dou’s smallest known Self-portrait, and Sweerts’ Maidservant, as well
as recent acquisitions such as Van Honthorst’s Avaritia and others. See below as well as previous Newsletters.

Although the FAA maintains an active loan program and many of its paintings have been to exhibitions all over the world, the Cologne exhibition will provide the opportunity to see a number of paintings that have either never been seen by the public or rarely. These include a.o. Theodoor Rombouts’ Musical company with Bacchus, Casper Netschers’ A lady washing her hands, Paulus Morelse’s Shepherdess, Philips Koninck’s Panorama with travellers and herdsmen in the foreground, Abraham Janssens’ The Virgin and Child with the infant St John the Baptist, Hobbema’s A wooded landscape with a roadside cottage and Adriaen Hanneman’s masterpiece Selfportrait.
A German language exhibition catalogue will be published with all works in full colour.

Long term loans to Leiden.

As previously published the FAA participated in a number of exhibitions and presentations during the Rembrandt year 2006. Among these was a loan of 4 paintings and 3 Rembrandt etching plates (see News item 04.05.2005) to museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. A long term loan has now been agreed and from December 2006 the following paintings are on display in museum De Lakenhal in Leiden:
 Christ at the column – Jan Lievens
 Baptism of the eunuch – a copy after a lost painting by Rembrandt
 A painter in his studio – Anonymous pupil of Rembrandt
 Still life with books and a globe – Jan Davidsz de Heem

A new acquisition

Below we publish a recent acquisition, a painting by Jan (Johannes) Hals, one of Frans Hals’ five sons. This small panel is in excellent state of preservation which contributes to its attractiveness. The entry was written by Quentin Buvelot. The number 13a. refers to the catalogue.

mail pic 4

13a.

Jan Hals (attributed to)
Haarlem 1620-1674
Boy eating porridge
Panel, 23.5 x 21 cm

Provenance:
Sale Cologne, Lempertz, 21 May 2005, no. 755 (as by a follower of Moses ter Borch)
Bibliography:Unpublished

This attractive little painting, which can be dated to about 1650, depicts a boy sitting on a wooden footstool eating his porridge in rapt concentration. The only clues we are given as to the nature of the interior are a plastered wall and a wooden floor. A few objects – a wicker basket, a cooking pot and a lid – fill out the empty space a little and convey a sense of depth in a simple yet effective way. The image has been produced with consummate economy: the figure and objects are painted loosely, each brushstroke applied with unerring boldness. The panel was prepared with a strikingly thin ground, so that in large parts of the image the support glimmers through. The boy’s face appears enveloped in light, creating the effect of a halo. His head is encircled by a narrow border of opaque grey paint; the artist has wiped away most of the adjacent background, probably using his fingers. (1) In several places we find subtle gleams of reflected light, including white highlights along the rim of the porringer and the edge of the spoon that enhance the scene’s realism. Local colour accents – such as the striking blue and brownish-yellow hues in the coat-sleeve – enliven the scene.
The same motif had been tackled earlier, in 1636, by Dirck Hals (1591-1656), a younger brother of Frans Hals, whose small painting of a child eating porridge represents the sense of Taste in a series of the five senses, each one being portrayed by a single child. (2) Whether Boy eating porridge was ever part of a similar series of paintings is unknown; it is certainly not inconceivable. The panel’s provenance is unfortunately a blank.

Boy eating porridge was acquired as an anonymous work of the Haarlem school. In subject and execution it recalls the work of the famous Haarlem painter Frans Hals (1581/5-1666), in whose portraits we frequently discern the kind of halo effect seen here. Hals was also one of the first Haarlem painters to depict children prominently in his paintings. Thanks to the expertise of Dr P. Biesboer, curator of the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the scene described here can be linked
to two of Frans Hals’s five painter sons: Jan and Reynier. None of the five ever attained the artistic heights exemplified by their father. Paintings by Jan and Reynier in the Frans Hals Museum display similarities of theme and execution with Boy eating porridge. In about 1650 Reynier Hals depicted a similar subject in Girl eating porridge, (3) but both the composition and execution of this large painting clearly point to a different hand. In terms of execution, Biesboer sees a distinct resemblance between the work described here and Jan Hals’s Children at play from 1652, although the latter makes a rather primitive impression. (4) Jan Hals was trained by
his father and worked in his home town from 1648 until his death in 1674. Besides portraits he produced genre pieces, including a scene of a man and a woman in an interior, which is signed in full and resurfaced only recently. (5) It is appropriate to exercise some caution regarding the attribution, since the oeuvre of Frans Hals’s five sons has not been researched thoroughly and it is not always easy to distinguish between them. Whatever the case may be, Boy eating porridge is a fine example of the work of the Hals family. (6)

Quentin Buvelot
The Hague, July 2006

Notes:
(1) With thanks to Martin Bijl, Alkmaar, who recently completed the restoration of this painting.
(2) The Hague, Mauritshuis, inv. nos. 771-775; see P. Biesboer, M. Sitt (eds.), Satire en vermaak: Schilderkunst in de 17e eeuw. Het genrestuk van Frans Hals en zijn tijdgenoten 1610-1670, Haarlem (Frans Hals Museum), Hamburg (Hamburger Kunsthalle) 2003-2004, no. 18 (ill.).
(3) Canvas, 68 x 57.5 cm; Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum; inv. no. OS1-124.
(4) Panel, 36 x 30 cm; Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum; inv. no. OS1-121; written communication from Biesboer, 28 June 2006.
(5) Panel, 41 x 30 cm, signed and dated left of centre ‘Johannis / Hals / 16[.]4’; sale London, Sotheby’s, 6 July 2000, no. 334.
(6) From 31 May to 17 September 2006 the exhibition ‘Hals: A Family of Painters’, featuring work by all the artists in this family, was on show at the Frans Hals Museum; see A. Erftemeijer in Halszaken 5 (July 2006), no. 14, p. 5.