Lot 133
  • 133

JAN TOOROP | Portret van Miss J. Pontifex Hall (Portrait of Miss J. Pontifex Hall)

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Jan Toorop
  • Portret van Miss J. Pontifex Hall (Portrait of Miss J. Pontifex Hall)
  • signed J.Toorop twice, dated 1895 and inscribed (lower left), signed J. Toorop and inscribed Tête d’une anglaise Lady H (lower right)
  • pencil on paper laid down on card
  • 42.5 by 32.5cm., 16 3/8 by 9 1/2 in.
  • Drawn in 1895.


Sale: Christie’s, Amsterdam, 11th December 1991, lot 259
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


The Hague, Gemeentemuseum & Munich, Villa Stuck, Jan Toorop: Gesang der Zeiten, 2016-17, no. 195, illustrated in the catalogue


Philip Zilcken, 'Jan Toorop' in Elsevier's Geillustreerd Maandchrift, 1898, no. 15, mentioned p. 105

Catalogue Note

Jan Toorop was a Dutch-Indonesian painter. Born on the island of Java, he left Indonesia for the Netherlands aged 11, where he later enrolled at the Rijksakademie (the State Academy of Fine Arts) in Amsterdam. In 1886, he married a young British woman named Annie Hall, and proceeded to live between Brussels, the Netherlands and England. The sitter is likely the artist’s wife (whose full name was Annie Josephine Hall). She would have been 35 at the age of execution; at this time their daughter Annie Pontifex Toorop would have been 4 years old. It was during the 1890s that the artist developed his distinctive Symbolist style, depicting his subjects in willowy guises and working in fine and intricate lines, often floral and curvilinear, inspired by Javanese motifs. In 1894, the year before the date of the present work, Toorop was commissioned by the Dutch Oil Company to design a poster for their salad oil. Toorop’s image was an instant success: the stylised swathes of dress and hair were bold and innovative and the image soon became synonymous with the Dutch Art Nouveau movement. Indeed, so iconic was the design that it earnt the Dutch Art Nouveau its moniker ‘Slaolie’ (‘Salad-Oil Style’).

The present work is executed in the precise and intricate manner for which Toorop is celebrated. The sitter’s beautiful profile is set against a backdrop of elaborate flora, punctuated by rhythmic striations of tree trunks. Toorop’s works were to have a profound influence on Viennese artist Gustav Klimt and the present work exemplifies the expressive use of line which was to prove so inspirational for Klimt.  In 2006-2007, the Gemeentemuseum held an exhibition entitled Toorop in Vienna: Inspiring Klimt. A decade later, they held another exhibition entitled Toorop: Melodies of the Time in which the present work was exhibited.