Frans Hals reunited in Connecticut

An art exhibition in Hartford, Connecticut temporary reunites two works of Frans Hals and other pairs of paintings. The show, "Reunited Masterpieces", displays 10 pairs of paintings that were originally created together but over time were sold to different collectors and museums. The intimate exhibition is worth a visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum. Three of the pairs on display are by Dutch painters.

The works by Frans Hals are portraits of Joseph Coymans and his wife, Dorothea Berck; he was 52, she 51 when works were created in 1644. His portrait belongs to the Wadsworth, while her's traveled north from the Baltimore Museum of Art to join him. The two have been reunited only once before, in a show in Hals' hometown, Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1962.

The Wadsworth Atheneum acquired a painting of Adam by Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) in 2004. The corresponding Eve belongs to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Strasbourg, France. A New York Times review describes the differences between the two paintings:

"Some of the paintings in the pairs appear extremely different, partly because of different conservation methods, Dr. Zafran, the curator, explained. The portrait of Adam remains fresh, pink and luminous, while Eve appears older and more weathered, with a light coating of grime and crackling on the surface."

A third pair of Dutch paintings, with very elaborate frames, is of the hand of Johannes Verkolje de Elder. His 1674 portraits of Johan de la Faille and his wife Margaretha Delff both belong to the Wadsworth. Shortly after the museum bought Johan's portrait in 1982 it became aware of the accompanying painting of his wife and purchased it a year later.

The permanent collection of Wadsforth Atheneum contains several other Dutch works including a Rembrandt and Ruysdael's "View on Bloemendaal".

Reunited Masterpieces
February 14 through May 30, 2010
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT



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