The Regents and Regentesses of Frans Hals (Restored)
Dressed elegantly in black, they look down on us. Calm, dignified, reticent. These are well-to-do ladies and they wish you well.
One hundred and thirty-seven years ago they gazed in precisely the same way at the famous American painter John Singer Sargent. Tradition has it that he once spent hours in the Frans Hals Museum studying The Regentesses of the Old Men’s Almshouse (c. 1664) at close quarters. He even asked for a stepladder so that he could stroke their painted cheeks! Over the last four years this painting and other celebrated paintings of governors by Frans Hals have been subjected to even more intense scrutiny.
The Regents and Regentesses were investigated by the Frans Hals Museum’s team of restorers, aided by experts and curators. They pored over these three world-famous group portraits to get a better insight into Hals’s working methods and restored the paintings to new glory. The ladies and gentlemen go back on display on 18 January. A documentary by Marcel van der Velden and Krista Arriëns will show visitors what went on behind the scenes before these works made their ‘comeback’.