Rendez-vous in Paris

The painter Jan van de Cappelle re-united with his wife at the Fondation Custodia

Coming from Amsterdam, the portrait of Jan van de Cappelle painted by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout – on loan from the Amsterdam Museum – is once again sharing a wall with his wife Annetje Grotincx.

  • Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (Amsterdam 1621 – 1674 Amsterdam)
    Portrait of the Painter Jan van de Cappelle, 1653
    Oil on canvas. – 75,5 × 57,7 cm
    Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, inv. SA 40424
  • Jan van Noordt (Schagen 1623/1624 – 1676/1686)
    Portrait of Annetje Jans Grotincx, the Wife of Jan van de Cappelle, ca. 1653
    Oil on canvas. – 75,3 × 57,8 cm
    Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, inv. 8335

These two painting had been separated for years – as sometimes happens to portraits painted as pendants. In 1680 they were hung together in the home of the painter and collector Jan van de Cappelle (1626-1679), in Amsterdam, as his estate inventory informs us: ‘no. 102 A portrait of the deceased by [Gerbrand van den] Eeckhout’ and ‘no. 103 A portrait of the wife of the deceased by Jan van Noordt’.

It took art historians a while to establish that the two paintings corresponded to the works described in the seventeenth-century document. The pendants remained together until 1965, when they were sent to the saleroom. At that time, they were both attributed to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), whose signature can be seen on the male portrait. The female portrait was then acquired by Frits Lugt, the portrait of her husband by another collector. The Dutch art historian and creator of the Fondation Custodia had undoubtedly noticed that the two paintings were not by the same hand and therefore did not hesitate to separate them.

During the 1980s the attribution of Frits Lugt’s painting to Jan van Noordt (1623/24-1676/86) was put forward, based on stylistic comparisons. This made it possible to identify the models who posed for the portraits – thanks to Jan van de Cappelle’s estate inventory. But this hypothesis collapsed when David de Witt, the specialist in the work of Jan van Noordt, cast doubt on the attribution of the Fondation Custodia portrait. The recent restoration of the painting, however, removed the many incidences of overpainting which had disfigured the portrait; the artist’s hand was once more visible and the identification of both portraits confirmed.

The two pendants are presented alongside the exhibitions Frans Hals. Family Portraits and Children of the Golden Age, from 8 June to 25 August, 2019.