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Dirck Hals (Holland 1591‑1656).

A merry company making music in an interior.

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale: Classic & Asian 8-10 December 2021

Lot 21 Dirck Hals (Holland 1591‑1656). A merry company making music in an interior. Signed and dated D Hals 1649. Oil on panel, 46 x 63.5 cm.

Marked in red paint on the reverse: ”10.”.


100.000 – 150.000 SEK
€ 10.000 – 15.000


The collection of art dealer Gösta Stenman (1888‑1947), Stockholm, inv. no. 5919.
The collection of art dealer Tore Gerschman (1913-1992), Stockholm.


Gösta Stenmans konstsalong, Stockholm, ”Gamla tiders mästare”, 1947, cat. no. 30.


Gösta Stenman, Gamla tiders mästare, 1947, pl. 16.

In context

An elegant company making music in an interior by Dirck Hals

The present painting is a hitherto unknown painting by the artist and is therefore a new addition to the oeuvre as compiled by Britta Nehsen-Marten, Dirck Hals 1591 – 1656: Oeuvre und Entwicklung eines Haarlemmer Genremalers, 2003. Painted in 1649, it dates from the later phase of Hals’ career and shows both in composition and style the characteristic features of Hals works of that period. These are the fluid light brushwork, the slightly distorted faces of the figures, the attention for the silk material of the dresses and the subdued colour scheme. 

The painting shows us four elegantly dressed couples in an interior, of which some play a musical instrument and a procuress. A servant seen on the lower left is preparing drinks from a cooler whereas on the table also on the left there is a pastry and a wine glass. On the wall there are a few paintings in black frames, two of seascapes and one of a beach scene. The same combination of objects is visible in Hals’ Dance party of 1648, formerly in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg (Nehlsen, op.cit. cat. no. 273, fig. 182), which Nehlsen regards as subtle references to the Story of the Prodigal Son. Indeed, the musical party seen here is in the expressions of the faces and gestures a humoristic warning against the uncertainties of life. 

Elegant companies, both out as indoors were Hals specialty. The subject was derived from fêtes champêtres such as seen in late 16th century prints of the allegory of spring. Nehlsen records one painting of 1649 by Dirk Hals. This is the painting, last seen at Galerie Fischer Luzern in 1979, which is similarly signed on the frame of the painting in the back (Nehlsen, op.cit. cat. no. 274).

Dirck Hals trained together with his older brother Frans Hals, one of the most important Dutch portrait painters of the 17th century.

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