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Frans Hals, Portrait of a Woman (Marie Larp?)

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Woman (Marie Larp?)
Artist Frans Hals
Artist dates 1582/3 - 1666
Date made about 1635-8
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 83.4 × 68.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander; entered the Collection, 1972
Inventory number NG6413
Location Room 23
Art route(s) B
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Woman (Marie Larp?)
Frans Hals

An eighteenth-century label stuck on the back of this painting names the sitter as Marie Larp, and there was a Maria Larp living in Haarlem around the time the portrait was made. She married Pieter Tjarck in 1634, whom Hals also seems to have painted in a portrait now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. That portrait (identified by an old label on the back) is set in a similar frame – the two paintings seem like a pair of marriage portraits, although there are very slight differences in the painted frames.

The woman’s pose is formal. She sits upright and stiff; her hand gesture is rather contrived, pointing towards the rich embroidery on her gown. The vertical lines of the bright yellow buttons and the chair back add to the sense of a rather rigid attitude. Perhaps she feels constrained by the awkwardness of her huge, starched millstone ruff, which, along with her lace cuffs, was a fashionable and expensive accessory.

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