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De geschiedenis van het portret van Jaspar Schade door Frans Hals1

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image of Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History

Only a few weeks after seeing the Frans Hals portrait of Jaspar Schade in the 1962 exhibition in Haarlem, the author came upon it again in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Waller in Utrecht (Figs. 1 and 2, Note I). He learnt that this particular painting had been in Mr. Waller's family for nearly a century and that it was a copy of the one now in Prague. The story was that the latter had been sold by Mr. Waller's grandfather Beukerfrom his country-house 'Zandbergen', which he had bought in 1865, to his friend P.E.H. Praetorius, on condition that the latter had a copy painted as a replacement. According to a written statement of 1934 by Mr. Waller's mother, the original by Frans Hals had always been at 'Zandbergen' and there was even a legend that the house would fall down, if it were removed. Her father, who was not interested in paintings according to the statement, had sold it to Praetorius at his request. The family had understood, erroneously as it turns out, that Praetorius had sold it on to Cologne and that it had later gone to America. In testing the truth of all this the author discovered first that the house is marked with the name of 'Den Heer Schade' on a map of the Utrecht area by Bernard de Roij published by Nicolaas Visscher in Amsterdam in 1696 (Fig.3, Note 4). The road on which it stands had been projected in 1652, Schade being one of those who acquired a parcel of land along it in return for laying that portion out, planting it and maintaining it and also building a side road on either side of his plot. Part of the agreement also was that he was exempted from paying taxes for 25 years. Schade (1623-,92), a member of a family of considerable standing, held various high offices in the church and province of Utrecht and was a delegate to the States-General in 1672. He was extremely rich and noted for his extravagant lifestyle, particularly as regards clothes (Notes 12-14). His house passed to his eldest son, who in 1701 left it to his brother-in-law Jacob Noirot. Between the latter, who sold it in 1740, and the Beuker family 'Zandbergen' (Fig. 4) had nine different owners. The museum in Prague acquired the portrait of Jaspar Schade in 1890 from Prince Liechtenstein, who had bought it in Paris on 14 March 1881 at the sale of the collection of John W. Wilson, an Englishman then living in Brussels. A. J. van de Ven tried without success to trace its history before that time (Note 18) and this was also unknown to Seymour Slive, although in his catalogue raisonné of Hals' work he mentions that it was shown at an exhibition of Wilson's collection in Brussels in 1873 (Note 20). In an article of the same year on Wilson's collection in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts Charles Tardieu remarked that Wilson had lived in Holland for thirty years and that his residence was obviously in Haarlem, from where the best pictures in his collection came. In his article on the portrait Van de Ven enlarged on the coals of arms on the frame, which were Schade's eight quarterings, but in an arbitrary order. The director of the Prague museum had told him that the frame was a 19th-century one and that the confusion had arisen during its making. A description of the frame in 1875 reveals that the arms were in their correct place then (Note 25), while the frame of the copy has the same arms in the right order, except that the left and right sides are transposed. Thus the present Prague frame must have been made after 1875, while the copy was presumably made and framed at the time the painting left 'Zandbergen'. John W. Wilson (1815-83) was born in Brussels of Thomas Wilsorz, who moved to Haarlem in 1833 and started a cotton factory there. John lived at Hillegom from 1856 to 1868, but after that moved back to Haarlem for a short time up to, but no later than 1870. He must have been very wealthy, as he also bought a lot of land in the area. How he acquired his collection of paintings is not known, as he appears to have kept it quiet until the exhibition of 1873. The catalogue of this covered 164 pictures; 76 of them, painted by 57 different artists, were of the Dutch School. Five pictures, all authentic, were by Frans Hals (Note 29). P.E.H. Praetorius (1791-1876, Fig.5) was a cousin of Beuker's. He moved from Haarlem to Amsterdam in or before 1829 and spent the rest of his life there. He was a broker and banker, an amateur painter and a great connoisseur of paintings, who played a prominent part in art societies in Amsterdam. He was also a member of the Supervisory Committee of the Rijksmuseum from 1844 and Chairman of its Board of Management from 1852 to 1875 (Note 33). His earliest paintings were copies of 17th-century works and he says in an appendix to his memoirs of 1869 that his last five works, done in 1865 and I 866, included a copy of Frans Hals' portrait of Willem van Heythuyzen. While it is clear that Jaspar Schade was the builder of 'Zandbergen', it is odd that the painting is never mentioned in any of the deeds of sale, detailed though these are. This suggests that it was so firmly fixed in its place - in the downstairs corridor over the door to the salon - as to be regarded as part of the fabric of the house. The price paid by Praetorius for the painting is not known, but he bought it at a period when Frans Hals' reputation had shot upwards again, after a long period of decline. This return to favour emerges clearly from Tardieu's comments, from the records of copyists in the Rijksmuseum (Note 37) and, of course, from Wilson's predilection. No evidence can be found of the painting's passing from Praetorius to Wilson, but the two must have known each other. The identity of the painter of the copy is also unknown. Mrs. Waller's statement mentions J. W. Pieneman, but he can be ruled out, as he died in 1853 and his son Nicolaas in 1860. The most likely candidate at the moment would seem to be Praetorius himself.

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1985-01-01
2016-12-08

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