Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Dress
Oil on canvas (relined). 114 x 90 cm.
Signed and dated upper right: A:o 1662. JANMijtens F: (JANM joined).
Jan Mijtens was one of the leading portrait painters in The Hague in the 17th century. He was born into a large family of painters, which included his uncle Daniel Mijtens the Elder. Jan was probably taught under Daniel Mijtens as well as another uncle before being accepted as a master by the guild of Saint Luke in The Hague in 1639.
Alongside genre and history paintings, Mijtens is most well known for his individual and group portraits. His patrons included the family of the Stadtholder and aristocracy in The Hague, as well as foreign rulers such as Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg, for whom Mijtens painted a large family portrait for Oranienburg palace.
The present work shows an unknown young lady, presumably from the courtly circle at The Hague. She is shown dressed in a vividly coloured, shimmering blue silk gown and opulent pearl jewellery, gazing out confidently towards the viewer. She rests her left arm upon a rocky outcrop whilst her right hand clasps a pink flower in a graceful gesture. This gift for capturing elegance, combined with his technical prowess as a painter, made Jan Mijtens one of the most popular portrait artists of his era.
Auctioned by Christie’s, London, 15.12.1922, lot 68. – The G. A. Ward collection. – Auctioned in Brüssel, 8.5.1929, lot 91. – Collection of E. Brandus, Paris. - Auctioned by Christie’s, London, 23.3.1973, lot 29. – Roy Miles art dealers, London. - Auctioned by Christie’s, London, 18.7.1974, lot 42. – Marc Buyle art dealers, Ghent. – Private collection, Belgium.
Alexandra Nina Bauer: Jan Mijtens (1613/14-1670). Leben und Werk, Petersberg 2006, p. 186f, no. A 41, illus. p. 374.