DIRCK HALS | TRIC-TRAC PLAYERS
Property from Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna
Haarlem 1591 - 1656
signed with monogram, lower center, on the foot of the table: DH (in ligature)
oil on panel
unframed: 15 x 12⅝ in.; 38 x 31.5 cm.
framed: 20 x 17 1/2 in.; 50.5 x 44.1 cm
The panel is flat, stable, uncradled and beveled on all four edges. The painting is in overall beautiful condition and it reads well beneath a crisp varnish. The details and colors, particularly the vibrant tones of the costume of the figure at right, are well preserved. Under UV: not many retouches fluoresce. There are only a few scattered finely applied spots in the background and on the floor, for example above the figure’s heads at center, with other spots concentrated at the extreme edges. The figures remain largely untouched, only two small spots in the figure at left, tiny pin pricks in the central figure, and almost none in the figure at right except for a thin line that extends from the background into the brim of his hat. The painting can certainly hang as is. Offered in a dark wood frame with a gilt liner.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
From whom acquired for the Fürstliche Liechtensteinsche Gemäldegalerie (inv. no. 661), 1834;
From whom acquired, 1947.
A. von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon, Vienna 1906, vol. I, pp. 635-636;
A. Kronfeld, Führer durch die Fürstlich Liechtenstein'sche Gemäldegalerie in
Wien, Vienna 1931, p.126, cat. no. 661 (with star);
A Stix & E. von Strohmer, Die Gemäldegalerie des Fürsten Liechtenstein in Wien, Vienna 1938, p. 100, reproduced fig. 55;
B. Nehlsen-Marten, Dirck Hals 1591-1656: Oeuvre und Entwicklung eines Haarlemer Genremalers, Weimar 2003, p. 281, cat. no. 121 (with incorrect dimensions).
"A tendency towards a restricted palette and a greater reliance on tone rather than colour is a characteristic that Dirck Hals and other Haarlem genre painters shared with their landscapist confrères in the later 1620s and 30s. This restrained, almost muted picture composed with perfect order and balance is a beautiful and satisfying example of Dirck Hals’s work at this time."
Datable to circa 1630, this convivial gathering of fashionably dressed figures in the midst of a tric trac game is a marvelous example of the work of Dirck Hals. Such genre scenes showing merry-making companies were popular during the first half of the seventeenth century and were amongst his specialties. As here, he often composed these paintings around a centrally positioned table with elegant figures smoking, drinking, or playing games. Born in Haarlem in 1591, Dirck Hals was the younger brother of Frans Hals. During their lifetime, the brothers were celebrated as equals excelling in different artistic styles. Samuel Ampzing, writing in 1628, stated, "Come Halses, Come forward and take a place here that rightfully belongs to you./ How nimbly Frans paints people from life!/ What neat little figures Dirck knows how to give..."1 While Dirck's rapid painterly technique and the marvelous treatment of costumes clearly betrays the influence of his older brother, he also drew inspiration from the works of Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech, in particular the latter's elongated figures set within a small format.
Dirck is known to have worked from preparatory figure drawings and oil sketches on paper, a rather uncommon practice for a Dutch artist of this time. This working method helps to explain why figures in similar poses and costumes regularly recur in his works. For example, the seated gentleman in the present work is reminiscent in pose and costume of the figure in a preparatory drawing found today in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (fig. 1), and the arrangement of figures around the table compares to that found in his panel of the same subject, signed and dated 1626, sold in these rooms 26 January 2011, lot 25 (fig. 2).
1. S. Slive, Frans Hals, London 1970, vol. I, p. 6.