Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck (Haarlem circa 1606-1662) Portrait of a gentleman,

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Lot 26*
Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck
(Haarlem circa 1606-1662)
Portrait of a gentleman,

£ 80,000 - 120,000
US$ 110,000 - 160,000
Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck (Haarlem circa 1606-1662)
Portrait of a gentleman, three-quarter-length, in black costume with a white lace collar and a black hat
oil on canvas
81.6 x 68.2cm (32 1/8 x 26 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The Collection of Jos. Monchen, The Hague, by whom offered
    Sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, 20 April 1907, lot 180
    The Collection of August Janssen, Amsterdam
    With Kunsthandel J. Goudstikker, Amsterdam (cat. XIV, 1919-20, no. 81)
    With Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1956-7, where purchased by the present owners' late father

    Literature
    R.E.O Ekkart, Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck, Haarlem, 1979, p. 102, cat. no. 62, ill. p. 176

    Johannes Cornelisz. Verspronck was probably taught how to paint portraits in Haarlem by his father, Cornelis Engelsz.. Although Johannes lived with his parents for many years and remained a rather isolated figure in that city's art circles, after joining the Guild of Saint Luke there in 1632 he began a successful career himself as a portraitist. Only a limited number of his portraits have been identified by sitter, but most of those that have were citizens of Haarlem or persons with relatives in the city. It is believed that he may also have been a pupil of Frans Hals by whom he was strongly influenced, especially in his sitters' natural expressions and informal poses, as reflected in the present portrait. Although he borrowed the pose of his figures from Hals, it has been remarked that he adapted these in a clearly personal manner, giving his portraits an entirely different impact. Even early on Verspronck was distinct in the way he positioned his figures within the picture frame: thus, in contrast to Hals who tended to represent his sitters in the middle of his canvas, we find Verspronck positioning his sitter here to the left, allowing him to make the background an important element for displaying a subtle chiaroscuro effect where the striking feature is a light area close to the right side of the sitter gradually gaining the darker colour of the left side and upper part of the painting.

    Verspronck's style also differs clearly from Hals's broad, sketchy brushwork, his details being depicted in a more refined and detailed manner. Indeed, during his lifetime Verspronck was particularly prized for his exactness in painting details such as jewellery and lace – again a notable quality that is particularly evident in the present portrait. This appears to have accounted for his most lucrative commission in 1642 for a group portrait of the Regentesses of the Heilige Geesthuis, then one of the wealthiest charity institutions in Haarlem. This was won at the expense of Frans Hals himself, who had painted the Regents of the Saint Elisabeth Gasthuis in 1641 and fully expected to win the commission for the women. Rudolf Ekkart dates the present portrait to shortly after this commission, in circa 1645.
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