Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Frans Hals" at the Met: Museum Rearranges Furniture, Renews Old Promise

Does the Met’s Hals show -- almost entirely works from its own collection – tell us anything new? 

No.  The Met has pretty much just rearranged the furniture, taking down paintings already on permanent display and rehanging them in a special exhibition gallery.

But a private loan, Hals’ stunning yet small “Portrait of Samuel Ampzing” (above), is one of the best paintings in the exhibition and one that the Met should be begging for, borrowing for long-term display, or stealing.  In 2007 it sold at Sotheby’s London for more than $9 million, a high price for an Old Master.

Show curator Walter Liedtke revealed to this reporter that two miniature Hals portraits on wood (below, of Petrus Scriverius and Anna van der Aar) – which were highlights of the Met’s massive “Age of Rembrandt” exhibit a few years ago – will be on permanent view once the Hals show ends.  They’ll be in a pedestal display case in the Rembrandt-Hals gallery.  (Actually, the Met made the same promise during the Rembrandt show, too.)


“Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum,” 5th Avenue at 82nd Street, through October 11.

Photos: Top, Sotheby's catalogue; others taken at preview.

Copyright 2011 Laura Gilbert