• Holland, c. 1626
  • Oil on canvas
  • Inv. 214
  • Painting

Portrait of Sara Andriesdr. Hessix

Sara Andriesdr is depicted on this canvas. (lit. daughter of Andries) Hessix, wife of Michiel Jansz. van Middelhoven, a pastor from the city of Voorschoten, near Leiden, who also sat for Frans Hals for a painting whose current location is unknown. Both works were part of a pair and are thought to have been produced to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his wedding in 1586.

This composition came to be used as a formula for similar portraits executed later on, as it was the painter’s first representation of a natural-sized female figure in sitting position. The work relates to a phase in which Frans Hals’ style still reveals a rigorous attention to the drawing, something the painter later abandoned when he adopted a more spontaneous brush style. The composition is redolent of the finest Dutch genre painting and suggests the austerity that characterises the bourgeois portraits of that period.

Count André Mniszech, Paris; A. De Ridder, Cronberg. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Frederik Muller at the sale of the Ridder Collection, Amsterdam, 2 June 1924, no. 24.

H. 87 cm; W. 70 cm

Washington D. C. 1950

European Paintings from the Gulbenkian Collection, exhibition catalogue. Washington D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 1950, pp. 46–7, no. 18.

Slive 1974

Seymour Slive, Frans Hals, catalogue rainsonée. London: Phaidon Press, 1974, p. 24, no. 38.