A former apprentice accidentally discovers that Waltz Kirk has had paintings by van der Helst in her collection for centuries

The Rulers of Walenweeshuis (1641-1642) are currently on loan to the Museum of Amsterdam and need to be restored.Image Museum Amsterdam

a job Rulers of the orphanage and yen (1641-1642) is until recently recorded as the work of an unknown maker, having previously been listed for a long time as Hendrik van Someren (1615-1685).

Celine Oldenhaag, a former intern at Waalse Kerk, made the discovery. Having written her dissertation in cultural history about the floor of the tombstone in the False Kirk, the church council asked her to make an inventory of the extensive movable heritage. This included a large group of portraits of directors from previous eras of the Institutions.


Oldenhaag suggested with the help of the newspaper portal Delever Source collection of approximately 50,000 articles. In it I found a letter from 1932 about Rulers of the orphanage and yena work commissioned by the Walloon Church in the seventeenth century.

The letter described how restorer PN Bakker found Van der Helst’s signature in the lower right corner of the framed canvas. The discovery led to a media frenzy at the time, but less than a year later the painting was again attributed to Hendrik van Someren.

after cleaning

Oldenhaag presented her find to van der Helst expert Judith van Gent and Norbert Middelkoop, a specialist in 17th-century group paintings from the Amsterdam Museum, who had already suggested in 2021 on stylistic grounds that the Regent’s painting might represent ‘the young van der Helst’ ”. Maybe.

The painting was framed, but the signature was not immediately visible. After the lower right corner was cleaned, parts of the signature were still visible, and Amsterdam Museum specialists concluded that it was most likely van der Helst, whose work hangs in the Rijksmuseum, among others.

However, the painting is in poor condition and needs restoration. The Vallskerk Museum and the Amsterdam Museum, which has had the painting on loan since 2021, are looking for funding. So it will be some time before the public can see the work.

See also  Frans Bauer is full after his son's performance in Hoge Bomen: 'Goosebumps'

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *