THE PROPERTY OF A FOUNDATION
Ch. Spruyt, Lithographies d'après les principaux tableaux de la collection de S.A.S. Monseigneur le Prince Auguste d'Arenberg..., p. 6, no 33, with a lithography in reverse (see fig. 1);
Catalogue de l'exposition de tableaux; organisée au profit des pauvres, sous le patronage de S.A.R. madame la princesse Charlotte, dans le salons du palais de S.A.R. le Duc de Brabant..., Brussels 1855, p. 83, cat. no. 160;
W. Burger, Galerie d'Arenburg à Bruxelles, Paris 1859, p. 71, 134, cat. no. 23;
G. Lafenestre and E. Richtenberger, La peinture en Europe. La Belgique, Paris 1895, p. 140;
J.J. de Gelder, Bartholomeus van der Helst. Een studie van zijn werk, zijn levensgeschiedenis, een beschrijvende catalogus van zijn oeuvre.., Rotterdam 1921, p. 179, cat. no. 186;
A. von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon, Amsterdam 1968, p. 672;
L.M. Helmus, Schilderkunst tot 1850, collection catalogue Centraal Museum Utrecht, Utrecht 1999, p. 933, cat. no. 263, reproduced.
By P. Simoneau and E. de Looze, see Spruyt under Literature, no. 33, reproduced.
Bartholomeus van der Helst, who was born in Haarlem in 1613, moved to Amsterdam around 1636 where he soon became one of the leading portrait painters. During his lifetime, Van der Helst was widely acclaimed for his large civic group portraits which rivalled those of his contemporaries Frans Hals (1582-1666) and Rembrandt (1606-1669), see for example his Banquet of the Civic Guard Celebrating the Peace of Münster, 1648, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. C2). In Amsterdam the wealthy citizens preferred his flattering, tasteful portraits over those of Rembrandt, and by 1650 he had become the favourite portraitist of the regent class and Dutch celebrities.
This pleasing portrait of an unknown notable was painted at the peak of his fame. The portrait is flattering and vivid, however, the sitter's features are highly realistic and have not been idealized. This painting shows how gifted he had become in portraying his sitters in confident poses and in captivating their individuality of character, as can be seen in other portraits by Van der Helst executed in the 1660s, see for example the portrait of Vice admiral Johan de Liefde (ca. 1619-73) in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. A832).
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