Portrait of a Seated Woman Holding a Fan, about 1650, Frans Hals (Dutch, about 1582–1666), oil on canvas
Hals is renowned for his fluid brushwork and ability to capture the character of his sitters. This painting depicts the wife of the gentleman in Hals’ Portrait of a Seated Man Holding a Hat, also in the Taft collection. One of only two sets of pendant portraits that survive together, these canvases are among Hals’s most engaging. Seated diagonally on chairs, their complementary positions strengthen the sense of substance. Hals’s sedate presentation and sober palette are relieved by the sitters’ brightly lit faces and hands and by the dashing brushwork describing the front of the woman’s dress and lace.