34
34
Frans Hals
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN, PROBABLY THE REVEREND JOHN LIVINGSTON
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 338,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
34
Frans Hals
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN, PROBABLY THE REVEREND JOHN LIVINGSTON
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 338,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York

Frans Hals
ANTWERP 1581/5 - 1666 HAARLEM
PORTRAIT OF A GENTLEMAN, PROBABLY THE REVEREND JOHN LIVINGSTON

Provenance

Reputedly by descent from the sitter to his son Robert Livingston the Elder (1654-1728), New York;
thence by descent in the family to Peter van Brugh Livingston (1792-1868), as Rembrandt; 
Willed to his son, Van Brugh Livingston, New York, in 1856;
To his niece, Mrs. Charles J. Welch (d. 1942), New York;
To her son, Dr. Livingston Welch, New York, 1942;
Private collection, Germany.

Literature

E.B. Livingston, The Livingstons of Callendar and Their Principal Cadets, A Family History, Part II: America, New York 1887, p. 337 (without an attribution);
E.B. Livingston, The Livingstons of Livingston Manor, New York 1910, p. 54, note 2 (without an attribution), reproduced facing p. 33;
S. Slive, Frans Hals, New York 1974, vol. III, p. 93, no. 178, reproduced vol. II, fig. 266 (who suggests that "The picture has probably been cut on all sides");
R. Piwonki, A Portrait of Livingson Manor, Germantown, New York 1986, pp. 126 and 166.

Catalogue Note

This forceful portrait by Hals probably dates to the early or mid-1650s. His palette was darker and more restricted in range than in his early works and his paints thinner.  His brushwork changed as well, so it was broader and more summary – suggesting patterns in cloth or hair or even facial features rather than describing them in detail.  We see that here in the sitter’s collar, which Hals paints with a very thin pigment to give the sense of the semi-transparent fabric; he then adds highlights in broader, heavier strokes.  He revised his composition as he worked as we can see in the area around the hat.  He has gone over its outline and moved it several times, leaving broad strokes now visible in the blank background.  The Portrait of Livingston is very similar in style and technique to such works as the Portrait of a Gentleman, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.1  The sitter in the Washington picture is more of a dandy, with his elaborate buttons and tassels hanging from his collar, but the overall approach is the same.

The sitter here has been traditionally identified as John Livingston (1603-1672), an eminent minister in the Church of Scotland, but one who from the very beginning of his career clashed with the authorities.  In 1650 he was given the honor of being one of the delegates to negotiate for Charles II’s return to Scotland and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy.  However, he later came into conflict with Charles and was banished from Scotland in December 1662.  He sailed for Rotterdam several months later and spent the rest of his life in the Netherlands.  His son, Robert Livingston (1654-1728) emigrated to America in 1672 and founded a dynasty that included Philip Livingston (1716), one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), who administered the oath of office to George Washington on his first inauguration. 

The portrait’s similarity to the anonymous portrait of Livingston in the collection of the Earl of Wemyss, Gosford House, Scotland, and its celebrated history in the Livingston family collection support the identification. 

1.  S. Slive, Frans Hals, New York 1974, Vol. II,  p. 99, no. 191.

 

 

 

Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

|
New York