December 9, 2018

A Frans Hals family portrait re-united

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 12:58 pm

The Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio, USA is currently displaying three Frans Hals paintings portraying various members of the Van Campen family from 17th century Haarlem.

What is remarkable about this set is that the three works used to be part of a single painting.

Nobody knows why the original painting was cut up, but it could have been something simple like trying to make it fit the place where it was hung—Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, secretly considered by many Dutch as the greatest painting ever, was famously cut up once because it did not fit through a door.

The two larger pieces had long been considered related, but it was only recently that the connection between the middle and the smallest piece became clear. The Art Newspaper reports that during a restoration of the middle part, Children of the Van Campen Family with a Goat-Cart, a painted-over girl appeared that allowed the restorers to link the painting to Head of a Boy.

The exhibition will last until 19 January 2019, after which the paintings will be displayed in either Brussels and Paris or Brussels and Madrid.

Last week, two other portraits by Hals were sold at Christie’s in London for 11 million euro.

(Illustration: collage of two of the three Frans Hals paintings with white space indicating the presumed size of the original painting)

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June 5, 2013

Two Russians fighting over a painting make a Dutch woman rich

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 12:20 pm

Auction house Christie’s in London has sold ‘Still Life With Fruit’ by Russian avant-garde artist Ilya Mashkov for an unexpected € 5.5 million euro, a painting owned by an unnamed Dutch woman who bought it for a few thousand guilders back in 1976. In 1913 the painting was adorning Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum as part of an exhibition that also featured Kandinsky and Mondrian.

It is a world record price for the artist, the value of which appears to have been driven up by a bidding war between two Russians. The previous owner bought the work 35 years ago from a Dutch art dealer. She was persuaded to put it up for sale by a Christie’s expert who had valued it for insurance purposes a decade ago and believed the time was right to cash in.

(Link:, Image: Ilya Mashkov by Boris Grigoriev)

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July 12, 2012

Dutch masters theft solved after 13 years

Filed under: Art,Sports by Orangemaster @ 5:20 am

Five of the seven paintings stolen from an elderly woman in Bilthoven, Utrecht back in 1999 turned up at a Christie’s auction last Wednesday. The police were called in and they’ve arrested three suspects, two in the Netherlands and one in Germany, involved in drugs and, well, theft from little old ladies. The most famous painting of the lot is probably ‘Antonius en Cleopatra’ (‘Anthony and Cleopatra’) from 1677 by Jan Steen. The other paintings are from the late 16th and 17th century.

The two paintings still missing from the now deceased elderly woman are more recent paintings, namely Isaac Israëls’ ‘Café-interieur-restaurant’ (‘Cafe interior restaurant’) from the 20th century and Wouterius Verschuur’s ‘Paarden in Schuur’ (‘Horses in a stable’) from the 19th century.

At the time of the theft, the paintings were valued at what is now 1,3 million euro (three million guilders).

Nice tangent: at age 63, Isaac Israëls actually won a Gold Medal at the 1928 Olympic Games, which were held in Amsterdam, for his painting Red Rider, an art competition that was part of the games.

(Links:,, Photo of Jan Steen by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara’s photostream, some rights reserved)

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