HALS, Frans
(b. 1580, Antwerpen, d. 1666, Haarlem)

Claes Duyst van Voorhout

c. 1638
Oil on canvas, 81 x 66 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The sitter's identity was written on the back of the panel to which the original canvas was attached until 1927. Nicolaes (Claes) Pietersz Duyst van Voorhout (born c. 1600) owned a Haarlem brewery called Het Swaenshals (The Swan's Neck). The owners of breweries in Haarlem, Delft, and other Dutch cities were often prominent citizens, a number of whom held government offices. An inventory Nicolaes Duyst van Voorhout's estate, dated November 7, 1650, indicates that he was an enthusiastic collector of paintings by Haarlem and other artists, and that he owned one or two independent portraits of himself.

The identification is accepted cautiously since the old inscription dates from decades after the painting itself, when the canvas needed additional support.