Overview

Starting in 1568, seven provinces of the Netherlands broke away in revolt against Spanish rule, initiating a war for independence that lasted until 1648. In the early years of the conflict the militias (civic guard companies) of Haarlem in particular put up a heroic fight. By Hals’ time the military front was sufficiently far to the south that the function of these militias had become more social than martial, which explains the presence in this portrait of the elegant lace collar over the iron breastplate and the lace cuffs. Each battalion was divided into three companies based on the colors of the rebel flag—orange, white, and blue; the civic guardsman here clearly was a member of one of the orange companies. Hals, member of the Saint George civic guard since 1612, made a number of large group portraits of the militia companies.

This portrait is one of only two known portraits by Hals of an individual guardsman. It has been dated at various periods of the artist’s career, but recent scholars have placed it at the end of the 1630s on the basis of comparisons with Hals’ civic guard painting Officers and Sergeants of the Saint George Civic Guard Company in the Frans Halsmuseum, which the artist executed about 1639. Hals portrayed himself in the left background among his fellow guardsmen, and is staring at the viewer. Hals’ facial features are remarkably similar to those of the man in this Portrait of a Member of the Haarlem Civic Guard, so much so that one wonders if this image is, in fact, a self-portrait.

Inscription

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Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], Saint Petersburg, by 1774; Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; sold March 1931 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1989
Frans Hals, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1989, not in catalogue.
1998
Museums of the World: Homage to the Pushkin Museum Centenary, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1998, unnumbered catalogue.
2003
Dutch and Flemish Treasures from the National Gallery of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, 2003, no catalogue.

Bibliography

1773
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.] "Catalogue raisonné des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Galeries, Sallons et Cabinets du Palais Impérial de S. Pétersbourg, commencé en 1773 et continué jusqu’en 1785.” 3 vols. Manuscript, Fund 1, Opis’ VI-A, delo 85, Hermitage Archives, Saint Petersburg,1773-1783 (vols. 1-2), 1785 (vol. 3).
1774
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.]. Catalogue des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Cabinets du Palais Impérial à Saint- Pétersbourg. Based on the 1773 manuscript catalogue. Saint Petersburg, 1774: no. 269, as Portrait d'un officier.
1838
Imperial Hermitage Museum. Livret de la Galerie Impériale de l’Ermitage de Saint Petersbourg. Saint Petersburg, 1838: 254, no. 773.
1863
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial, Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. Saint Petersburg, 1863: 165, no. 773.
1864
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Die Gemäldesammlung in der kaiserlichen Ermitage zu St. Petersburg nebst Bemerkungen über andere dortige Kunstsammlungen. Munich, 1864: 172, no. 773.
1870
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. 3 vols. 2nd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1870: 2:124, no. 773.
1883
Bode, Wilhelm von. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883: 90, no. 131.
1895
Somov, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1895: 2:123, no. 773, repro.
1896
Conway, William Martin. The Hermitage. London, 1896: no. 773, repro.
1896
Knackfuss, Hermann. Frans Hals. Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1896: 38, repro.
1901
Somov, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galerie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 4th ed. Saint Petersburg, 1901: 2:141, no. 773, repro.
1902
Davies, Gerald S. Frans Hals. London, 1902: 144.
1904
Bryan, Michael. Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, biographical and critical. 5 vols. Revised and expanded by George C. Williamson. New York and London, 1903-1905: 3:10.
1906
Wurzbach, Alfred von. Niederlandisches Kunstler-Lexikon. 3 vols. Vienna, 1906-1911: 1(1906):640.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 3(1910):89, no. 310.
1907
Williamson, George Charles. "The Hermitage Collection at St. Petersburg." Connoisseur 19 (December 1907): 205-217.
1908
Davies, Gerald S. Frans Hals. Reprint. London, 1908: 140.
1909
Moes, Ernst Wilhelm. Frans Hals: sa vie et son oeuvre. Translated by J. De Bosschere. Brussels, 1909: 138.
1909
Wrangell, Baron Nicolas. Les Chefs-d’Oeuvre de la Galerie de Tableaux de l’Ermitage Impérial à St. Pétersbourg. London, 1909: xxvii, 142, repro.
1912
Péladan, Joséphin. Frans Hals 1580(?)-1666. Paris, 1912: 89-90.
1914
Bode, Wilhelm von, and Moritz Julius Binder. Frans Hals: His Life and Work. 2 vols. Translated by Maurice W. Brockwell. Berlin, 1914: 2:15, no. 214, pl. 137.
1914
Bode, Wilhelm von, and Moritz Julius Binder. Frans Hals: Sein Leben und seine Werke. 2 vols. Berlin, 1914: 2:15, no. 214, pl. 137.
1921
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Frans Hals: des meisters Gemälde in 318 Abbildungen. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 28. Stuttgart and Berlin, 1921: 320, repro. 222.
1923
Knackfuss, Hermann. Frans Hals. Reprint. Bielefeld, 1923: 46-48, repro.
1923
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Frans Hals: des Meisters Gemälde in 322 Abbildungen. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 28. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, Berlin, and Leipzig, 1923: 320, repro. 235.
1930
Dülberg, Franz. Frans Hals: Ein Leben und ein Werk. Stuttgart, 1930: 186, 223.
1936
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Frans Hals Paintings in America. Westport, Connecticut, 1936: no. 92, repro.
1937
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: repro. opposite page 40, as Man with a Red Sash.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1941: 95, no. 68, as Portrait of an Officer.
1941
Trivas, Numa S. The Paintings of Frans Hals. New York, 1941: 49, 97, no. 74, repro.
1942
National Gallery of Art. Book of illustrations. 2nd ed. Washington, 1942: no. 68, repro. 24, 240, as Portrait of an Officer.
1949
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 76, repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1960
Baird, Thomas P. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art 7. Washington, 1960: 12, color repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1961
Reitlinger, Gerald. The Rise and Fall of Picture Prices 1760-1960. (Vol. 1 of The Economics of Taste). London, 1961: 23-24.
1962
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Treasures from the National Gallery of Art. Translated. New York, 1962: 90, color repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963: 311, repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 65, as Portrait of an Officer.
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1: 218, color repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 57, repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1970
Slive, Seymour. Frans Hals. 3 vols. National Gallery of Art Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art. London, 1970–1974: 1(1970):57, 2(1970):no. 202, repro., 3(1974):67, no. 125.
1972
Grimm, Claus .Frans Hals: Entwicklung, Werkanalyse, Gesamtkatolog. Berlin, 1972: 25, 100, 204, no. 99.
1974
Montagni, E. C. L’opera completa di Frans Hals. Classici dell’Arte. Milan, 1974: 101-102, repro., no. 46.
1975
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 170, repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 268, no. 351, repro.
1976
Montagni, E. C. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Frans Hals. Les classiques de l'art. Translated by Simone Darses. Paris, 1976: no. 46, repro.
1978
Alberts, Robert C. Benjamin West: a biography. Boston, 1978: 184, no. 6.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 268, no. 345, color repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 196, repro., as Portrait of an Officer.
1986
Mittler, Gene A. Art in Focus. Peoria, 1986: 254-255, fig. 14.11.
1986
Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids and Kampen, 1986: 308.
1989
Grimm, Claus. Frans Hals: das Gesamtwerk. Stuttgart, 1989: no. 100, repro.
1989
Slive, Seymour. Frans Hals. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. London, 1989: 284.
1990
Grimm, Claus. Frans Hals: The Complete Work. Translated by Jürgen Riehle. New York, 1990: 67-68, 284, no. 100, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 91, 93, color repro.
1992
Fiero, Gloria K. The Age of the Baroque and the European Enlightenment. The Humanist Tradition 4. Dubuque, 1992: 48, 50 fig. 22.11.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 72-76, color repro. 73.
1998
Egorova, K. S., and M. A. Bessonova. Museums of the world, homage to the Pushkin Museum Centenary. Exh. cat. Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1998: 168.
1998
Fiero, Gloria K. Faith, Reason and Power in the Early Modern World. The Humanistic Tradition 4. 3rd ed. New York, 1998: no. 22.11, repro.
1999
Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castria, La peinture baroque. Translated from Italian by Silvia Bonucci and Claude Sophie Mazéas. Paris, 1999: 167, color repro.
2000
Il'in, Nikolas, and Natalia Semënova. Prodannye sokrovishcha Rossii [Sold Treasures of Russia]. Moscow, 2000: 148-149, repro.
2006
Biesboer, Pieter, and Neeltje Köhler, eds. Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: The Collection of the Frans Hals Museum. Translated by Jennifer Kilian and Katy Kist. Ghent, 2006: 486-488, 607-608, no. 183, repro., no. 429 repro. (guardsman no. 12).
2009
Odom, Anne, and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Washington, D.C., 2009: 99, 135 n. 62.
2011
Fiedler, Susanne, and Torsten Knuth. "Vexierbilder einer Biographie: Dr. Heinz Mansfeld (1899-1959)." Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher 126 (2011):308.

Conservation Notes

The original support consists of a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric, with part of the original tacking margin incorporated into the top edge. In a past restoration, the top, left, and right tacking margins were trimmed, and these edges were extended with 1.5-centimeter-wide fabric strips. The paint layer present on the extensions is neither original nor of recent application. The original fabric and extensions have been lined. Cusping is found along all edges of the original support, indicating that the present dimensions have not been greatly reduced.

Paint was applied over a smooth white ground in fluid pastes and thin washes, in unblended brushstrokes, dots, and dabs of low impasto. A red underlayer visible in some areas may be part of an overall or locally applied imprimatura. Colored glazes were used extensively in the drapery. Lining has emphasized the canvas weave and slightly flattened the paint texture. Apart from a small loss in the hat, losses are confined to the edges. The brown glazes of the face and hair and blue green paint of the landscape are moderately abraded, and the darks of the clothing slightly abraded. The painting was restored in 1991.

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