Portrait of a Woman, probably Aeltje Dircksdr. Pater

Portrait of a Woman, probably Aeltje Dircksdr. Pater

1638

Frans Hals

(Dutch, c. 1581-1666)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 82 x 67 x 6.5 cm (32 5/16 x 26 3/8 x 2 9/16 in.); Unframed: 66.5 x 52.3 cm (26 3/16 x 20 9/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1948.137

Fun Fact

Jewelry, lace, and sumptuous fabrics show off this woman's wealth—and the artist's skill in painting them.

Description

Many of Hals's portraits exhibit the bold, jagged brushstrokes typically associated with his work, but this portrait shows him experimenting with a more precise mode of painting. Hals often painted “wet-into-wet,” not allowing the paint to dry before applying additional layers. Here, for example, these blended strokes are used at the figure's hairline to convincingly recreate individual strands of hair. The sitter has recently been tentatively identified as Aeltje Dircksdr. Pater (1597–1678), wife of the Haarlem brewer and burgomaster Jan de Wael (1594–1663). An inscription confirms her age as 41 when Hals painted her.

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