National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Portrait of a Gentleman Frans Hals (artist)
Dutch, c. 1582/1583 - 1666
Portrait of a Gentleman, 1650/1652
oil on canvas
overall: 114 x 85 cm (44 7/8 x 33 7/16 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.29
Not on View
From the Tour: Frans Hals
Object 6 of 7

Conservation Notes

The original support is a loosely woven, plain-weave fabric of medium weight, with the original tacking margins trimmed. A non-original 2.5 cm wide fabric strip was attached to the top edge at an unknown date. Prior to the attachment of the extension, approximately 2.5 cm of the painting surface along all four sides was turned over the stretcher edges to form a tacking margin. Regularly spaced damages, presumably former tacking holes, are visible in the x-radiograph along all four edges. Prior to acquisition, the painted edges were restored to the picture plane, and the original support and extension lined. Slight cusping is visible along the top, bottom, and left sides, but absent on the right.

A thin, smooth, white ground layer is visible through the thinly painted background. Fluid paint was applied over thin washes in distinct brushstrokes blended wet into wet. Several pentimenti are visible. The hat was reworked several times to a narrower form, and the proper right index finger was raised and repositioned. The upper edge of the proper right shoulder, arm, and collar were initially higher. Light highlights in the sitter's proper left shoulder were also painted out by the artist.

In addition to the edge damages, small- to moderate-sized losses of paint and ground are scattered throughout the costume, background, and proper right hand. The thin background and dark costume are extensively abraded, with slight abrasion to the face. Conservation treatment was carried out in 1984-1985 to remove later repaints and a discolored varnish.

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