Frans Hals was about fifty-five years old when he painted these splendid portraits of an unknown husband and wife. These life-size likenesses must have played an important role in the private collection of Johann Friedrich Städel (1728-1816), especially because people erroneously believed that the subjects of the paintings were likenesses of Peter Paul Rubens and his first wife, Isabella Brant. It is interesting to note that Städel owned these portraits long before the Dutch portrait painter Frans Hals was properly rediscovered by art academics in the mid-nineteenth century.
The Frankfurt banker and merchant Johann Friedrich Städel had assembled his art collection, which focused mainly on the art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in his house on Rossmarkt. In 1815 he bequeathed it to the foundation which was to bear his name and thus provided the City of Frankfurt with its first public art museum.
Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.
The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.
Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:
The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.
Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .