Portrait of Frans Hals
Portrait of Frans Hals

Portrait of Frans Hals

After Frans Hals (Dutch, about 1581-1666)

Currently on View in C207
Image Licensing

One of fifteen extant copies of a lost self-portrait made by Hals in the late 1640s, this painting beautifully replicates the artist’s signature style. The loose brushstrokes, some of which hover on the surface to define form, and the sketchy definition of the contours contribute to the liveliness of the portrayal . Such a "rough" manner was not viewed as careless but was praised by early theorists as the culmination of years of practice of the art of painting. Pulitzer Prize-winning Hoosier author Booth Tarkington described this portrait as "a keen and living bit of analysis."

August Christoph von Wackerbarth [1662-1734];{1}
Königliche Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Germany, until 1860.{2}
Possibly in the collection of wealthy ship owner from Nantes, Fernand Crouan [1845-1905];
by descent to Mr. de Lagotellerie.{3}
(E. and A. Silberman Galleries, New York, New York);{4}
Acquired by Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes of Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1934;
Clowes Fund Collection, 1958-present (C10047);
on long-term loan to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Courtesy of The Clowes Fund, since 1971 (C10047);
given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2015.

{1} Wackerbarth gave his art collection to the king of Saxony, Friedrich August I, of the House of Wettin, in 1710-11, and also served as an agent for the king’s art purchases as well. For more on Wackerbarth see Carl Niedner, “Der sächsische Kabinettsminister Graf August Christoph von Wackerbarth (Ϯ 1734) und die Königliche Gemäldegalerie in Dresden,” Neues Archiv für sächsische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, 31 (1910): 86-99, esp. p. 90, 94-95
{2} The IMA’s painting was listed in the 1722 inventory of the Dresden Gemäldegalerie as no. 147. (The number 147 appears in paint on the front of the painting at bottom right.)
Scholars such as Valentiner have confused it with another version of the Hals portrait also owned by the Dresden Gallery; this version is listed as no. 191 in the same inventory. See SKD Archiv, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Direktion, Inv. 1722-1728, Lit. A.
From 1859-1861 a series of auctions took place to reduce the holdings of the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, and the IMA painting was sold at auction on 16 April 1860 by Carl Gotthelf Bautzmann, Dresden, as lot no. 89; see the annotated catalogue Verzeichniss der aus den Vorräthen der Kgl. Gemälde-Galerie zu Dresden … zu versteigernden Oel- und Pastell-Gemälde, at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD Archiv, 01/GG Akte Nr. 6 Bd 1) which links lot no. 89 of the auction catalogue with the no. 530. The IMA painting indeed appears on an inventory list of paintings slated for auction as no. 530; this number appears on a paper tag on the back of the IMA painting. For this inventory, see SKD Archiv, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Direktion, Die im Vorrath befindlichen Bilder und deren Verwendung betreffend, Nr. 530.
{3} Hofstede de Groot reported that he examined the painting in Paris, France, at the home of Mr. de Lagotellerie. De Lagotellerie inherited the business and presumably the painting collection of his father-in-law in 1905. The company liquidated in 1906, whereupon De Lagotellerie moved to Paris. Note written by Hofstede de Groot in March 1912, RKD files.
{4} The painting was never, as Slive suggests, in the possession of H. Klaus of Minneapolis but was acquired directly from Silbermann Galleries by Clowes. The mistake can be attributed to an announcement made on 26 January 1935 by the Illustrated London News, declaring the new owner of the self-portrait to be Dr. H. Klaus of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A letter written to the newspaper by Charles H. Dorr of E. and A. Silbermann points out the mistake. Clowes Collection Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art (C10047). See also the same error in “Long hidden work by Hals is found”, New York Times, 9 January 1935.

Object Information

After Frans Hals (Dutch, about 1581-1666)
creation date
about 1650
oil on oak panel
13-1/2 x 10 in.
22-5/8 x 19-1/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
The Clowes Collection
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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