Frans Hals: Portrait of Willem van Heythuysen (1634)

(private collection)

A painting by the Dutch artist Frans Hals (1582-1666). Depicted on the painting is Willem van Heythuysen (1590-1650). Willem was born in the town of Weert but became a wealthy cloth merchant. Not much is known of him besides that after his death he founded by the testament two so-called 'hofjes' (courtyard with almshouses which provided housing for elderly people) - one in Haarlem, which still exists today, and one in Weert. Frans Hals portrayed Willem van Heythuysen twice: a full length and more formal portrait from 1625-1630 and this intimate and nonchalant portrait from 1634 (at the death of Willem this painting was hanging in the personal office in his house.