European Art
Artist: Frans Hals, Dutch, ca. 1581–1666

Portrait of an Elderly Woman, traditionally called Mevrouw Bodolphe


Oil on canvas

unframed: 122.4 × 97.5 cm (48 3/16 × 38 3/8 in.)
Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903
Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, the son of a clothworker and weaver from Mechelen. Essentially a figure painter, he was famous for his dazzling military groups and solid bourgeois portraits, such as those of the Bodolphe couple (see also 1961.18.23), as well as for quick sketches of fisher-boys, ragamuffins, and tavern revelers. The somber tone of these two paintings contrasts with his earlier pictures, which are executed in bright, slashing strokes of color. This was the accepted style for portraiture at the time, however, when Protestant and other cultural ideals required stern, sober depictions of individuals.
On view
17th century

Odier Collection, Paris, 1861; Count Andre Mniszech Collection, Paris; J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq. Collection; Stephen Carlton Clark Collection.


Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 311, 313, 328, no. 150, fig. 258, 261.

Seymour Slive, Frans Hals, 2nd ed. (London: Phaidon, 2014), 254, 275, pl. 154.

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.