With E. Warneck, Paris;
Quincy Adams Shaw, Boston (1825-1908);
By inheritance to his son, Quincy Adams Shaw (1870-1960);
Thence by descent to the present owner.
E.W. Moes, Frans Hals, Sa Vie et Son Oeuvre, Brussels 1909, p. 109, cat. no. 207;
C.H. de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, London 1910, vol. III, p. 108, cat. no. 373;
W. Bode and M.J. Binder, Frans Hals, sein Leben und seine Werke, Berlin 1914, vol. II, p. 58, cat. no. 184, reproduced plate 115b;
W.R. Valentiner, Frans Hals, Berlin 1923, p. 320, cat. no. 231 right, reproduced p. 231 (as copy of the Portrait of a Woman, presumably the wife of Hendrick Swalmius in the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam);
S. Slive, Frans Hals, London 1974, vol. 3, p. 68, under cat. no. 127 (from a photograph as perhaps a copy of the Portrait of a Woman, presumably the wife of Hendrick Swalmius in the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam).
This expressive head of a woman was in a private collection for more than a century and, for much of that time, inaccessible to scholars and collectors alike. Judging only from a photograph, Seymour Slive had tentatively suggested it was a copy of the Wife of Hendrick Swalmius.1 However, recent examination of the actual panel has shown that it is in fact an independent work. In comparing it to published portraits of women by Hals, we can see that this is a fragment of a larger, three-quarter length portrait, possibly a pendant to an unknown portrait of the sitter's husband. The plain background, the turn of the head and the ruff, relate the sitter to a series of similar female portraits, including the Portraits of Women in Detroit and Frankfurt and Maritge Vooght Claesdr. in Amsterdam (Slive 101, 116 and 129, respectively). Visible under the ruff are the indications of a smaller, more old-fashioned one, but it is not clear when or why it was changed. However, it is the bravura treatment of the cap -- those bold strokes of grey and touches of white, somehow creating the impression of lace and starched linen -- that most clearly reflects the hand of the master.
A Note on the provenance
Quincy Adams Shaw was a substantial businessman, having invested in copper mining, and an important figure in Boston society. He was born in Boston in 1825 and named for his father's friend John Quincy Adams. He was educated at Harvard and lived in Paris in the 1850s, where he became part of the artistic world and began collecting. He bought Old Master paintings and Renaissance sculpture, but concentrated on the then contemporary French school, particularly the works of Jean-François Millet. In the course of his life he acquired 26 paintings, 27 pastels and three etchings by Millet. He later became a major benefactor of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1894, he gave them a substantial gift of Old Master drawings and after his death and that of his wife in 1917, his Millet collection was transferred to the museum. His children continued in his footsteps so that there are now more than 100 items in the Museum of Fine Arts collection with the Quincy Adams Shaw provenance.
1 As did Valentiner before him. See Literature, S. Slive and W. R. Valentiner.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale