In this canvas of the early 1650s, the figure's pose follows a pattern Hals employed twenty years earlier, but here the arrangement is more frontal and contained. The resulting impression of reserve or authority is relieved by the relaxed expression, and perhaps by the French fashions of flounced sleeves and colorful ribbons at the waist. Vivid brushwork and the nearness of the foreshortened hat add to the portrait's immediacy.
This large portrait of a fashionably attired but seemingly sober gentleman is generally agreed to date from the early 1650s. It is a superb example of Hals's mature style, not least for its virtuoso display of brushwork in the costume.
It is clear from the design of other portraits by Hals that this picture could have stood alone, and equally well might have had a pendant. However, none has ever been identified or proposed.
Since 1909, the picture has often been published as bearing the artist's monogram at right; however, close examination has revealed no evidence of a signature.
A small copy on panel, arbitrarily attributed to Hals's son Harmen, was sold at Parke-Bernet, New York, on March 14, 1951, no. 9, and again on March 5, 1952, no. 31.
[2011; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Augustus Edward Hobart-Hampden, 6th Earl of Buckinghamshire, Hampden House, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire (until d. 1885; posthumous sale, Christie's, London, March 17, 1890, no. 131, for £1,995 to Agnew); [Agnew, London, 1890; sold to Marquand]; Henry G. Marquand, New York (1890)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 41.
Haarlem. Frans Halsmuseum. "Frans Hals Tentoonstelling," July 1–September 30, 1937, no. 105.
Haarlem. Frans Halsmuseum. "Frans Hals," 1962, no. 61.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 41).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, not in catalogue.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 20.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 20.
New Brunswick, N.J. Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. "Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century," February 20–April 17, 1983, no. 68.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Frans Hals," January 13–April 8, 1990, no. 70.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum," July 26–October 10, 2011, no catalogue.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 42, no. 41, ill. opp. p. 42, dates it about 1650; erroneously states that it is signed at right with the artist's monogram.
E[rnst]. W[ilhelm]. Moes. Frans Hals, sa vie et son œuvre. Brussels, 1909, p. 108, no. 184.
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 3, London, 1910, p. 85, no. 297.
Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), p. 50 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (January 1910), p. 7], calls it a pendant to the "Portrait of a Woman" (MMA, 91.26.10).
Kenyon Cox. "Dutch Pictures in The Hudson-Fulton Exhibition—II." Burlington Magazine 16 (January 1910), p. 245.
Joséphin Péladan. Frans Hals, 1580(?)–1666. Paris, 1912, ill. opp. p. 98.
Wilhelm von Bode, ed. Frans Hals: His Life and Work. Berlin, 1914, vol. 2, p. 21, no. 260, pl. 169.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Frans Hals, des meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1923, p. 322, ill. p. 266, dates it about 1652–54.
Franz Dülberg. Frans Hals: Ein Leben und ein Werk. Stuttgart, 1930, p. 202, pl. 88.
W. R. Valentiner. Frans Hals Paintings in America. Westport, Conn., 1936, no. 102, ill. [cat. section unpaginated].
Eduard Plietzsch. Frans Hals. Burg bei Magdeburg, 1940, pp. 4, 16, ill. p. 34, dates it about 1652.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 3, ill. p. 32.
Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Exh. cat., Frans Halsmuseum. [Haarlem], , pp. 69–70, no. 61, fig. 6 (color), dates it about 1650–52.
Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive inDutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. Baltimore, 1966, p. 45, pl. 25A.
Geoffrey Agnew. Agnew's, 1817–1967. London, 1967, unpaginated, ill.
Pierre Descargues. Hals. Geneva, 1968, pp. 111, 115, ill. (color).
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 74, 172 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Edith A. Standen inMasterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, , p. 41, ill. (color).
Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Vol. 1, Text. London, 1970, p. 194, ill. opp. p. 136 (color detail), dates it about 1650–52.
Claus Grimm. Letter to John Walsh. June 3, 1971, dates it about 1650–51 and notes that the right hand has been overpainted but that the original position of the hand is still visible underneath.
Claus Grimm. Frans Hals: Entwicklung, Werkanalyse, Gesamtkatalog. Berlin, 1972, pp. 23, 109, 205, no. 143, figs. 162, 166 (detail), dates it 1649–50.
Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive inDutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. rev. ed. Harmondsworth, England, 1972, p. 72, fig. 42.
Seymour Slive. Frans Hals. Vol. 3, Catalogue. London, 1974, p. 99, no. 190.
E. C. Montagni inL'opera completa di Frans Hals. Milan, 1974, p. 106, no. 181, ill., dates it about 1650.
Eric Zafran inMaster Paintings from The Hermitage and The State Russian Museum, Leningrad. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975, p. 80, under no. 21.
Herbert Wiesner. Master Painters of Holland: Dutch Painting in the Seventeenth Century. New York, 1976, colorpl. 67.
R. H. Fuchs. Dutch Painting. New York, 1978, p. 85, fig. 59, dates it about 1650.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 318, 329, 332, fig. 573 (color).
H. P. Baard. Frans Hals. New York, 1981, frontispiece (text), colorpl. 1 (detail), fig. 53, dates it about 1650–52.
Herwig Guratzsch. Dutch and Flemish Painting. New York, 1981, pp. 139–40, colorpl. 113.
Frima Fox Hofrichter. Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat., Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. [New Brunswick, N.J.], 1983, pp. 42, 97, no. 68, ill. p. 96 and fig. 20, dates it about 1650.
Seymour Slive inFrans Hals. Ed. Seymour Slive. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, pp. 326–27, no. 70, ill. (color).
Karin Groen and Ella Hendriks inFrans Hals. Ed. Seymour Slive. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, pp. 112–13, 117, 122 nn. 29, 33, fig. 4 (radiograph), note that at some point a narrow strip of canvas was added to the left side of the canvas.
Bianca M. du Mortier inFrans Hals. Ed. Seymour Slive. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1989, p. 56.
H. Perry Chapman. Rembrandt's Self-portraits: A Study in Seventeenth-Century Identity. Princeton, 1990, p. 87.
Claus Grimm. Frans Hals: The Complete Work. New York, 1990, pp. 195–96, 289, 292, no. 136, ill. p. 289, fig. 110, and colorpl. 70 (detail) [German ed., "Frans Hals: Das Gesamtwerk," Stuttgart, 1989, pp. 195–96, 283, 285, no. 136, ill. p. 282, fig. 110, and colorpl. 70 (detail)], dates it about 1654.
Seymour Slive. Dutch Painting 1600–1800. New Haven, 1995, pp. 51–52, fig. 56.
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Washington, 1995, pp. 89, 91 n. 5.
Susan Donahue Kuretsky. Time and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art. Exh. cat., Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Poughkeepsie, 2005, p. 17, fig. 1.
Marieke de Winkel. Fashion and Fancy: Dress and Meaning in Rembrandt's Paintings. Amsterdam, 2006, p. 102, fig. 38 (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 12, 14, 27–28, 70, figs. 9 (color), 10 (print of Marquand gallery), 27 (Hudson-Fulton gallery photograph).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. ix, 292–95, no. 67, colorpl. 67.
Nico Van Hout inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 58, fig. 3 (color detail).